Stop the Fire Sale of RBS
By Tony Greenham / neweconomics.org

In his Mansion House speech next week the Chancellor is expected to announce his plans to sell off RBS – at an eye-watering £13bn loss to the taxpayer. This huge loss reveals the scale of what the government is prepared to sacrifice to save the banks.

Just as he’s pushing through £13bn of cuts to public spending, on top of the £12bn of welfare cuts which will hit the poorest and most vulnerable in society, Osborne wants to sell the taxpayer-owned bank back to the private sector at knockdown prices. The British public are once more picking up the tab, and a return to too-big-to-fail banking is on the cards.

That’s why we’re calling for people to make a stand against the Government’s plans and sign this petition to block a fire sale of RBS.

Just a few months ago, Osborne was insisting we’d get our money – the £45bn spent to save RBS from collapse – back from any sale of the bank. Now, after the election, he is attempting to rush through a sale at a big loss. Returning RBS to the same structure that caused the crisis makes no sense. We’re calling for a thorough consultation that forces the question of not merely when RBS should be sold and for how much, but whether it should be sold at all.

Next week I’m sharing a platform with the head of strategy of RBS where we’ll be discussing how to fix the structural flaws in the financial system.Sign this petition and help build the case that with RBS in the public’s hands we have a unique opportunity to rebuild trust in the UK banking sector – a sale rushed through the backdoor is not the way to do so.

The story of RBS is a touchstone for much that’s wrong with the current set up of the UK financial system: bailed out by the public it’s due to be re-privatised with a string of bank fines and losses under its belt.  But at NEF we believe it’s also the touchstone for how things could be transformed.

Earlier this year we published research showing how transforming RBS into a network of local banks with a public service mandate would change the face of UK domestic retail banking and bring significant economic benefits.

As I’ve said before, the assumption that the bank should be returned to the private sector deserves greater scrutiny and debate. We can’t make back our money by flogging off RBS – so let’s use our investment to fix the UK’s broken banking system, creating new players that genuinely work for us.

Privatisation is not the only answer; let’s make sure the Chancellor knows that.

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Stop the Fire Sale of RBS