Gordon Brown loves asset sales. The problem is he has been trying to sell the same assets for about 11 years. Today the prime minister put a “for sale” sign over the Tote, Royal Mint, student loans and local government property — the very same assets he has been trying to sell since first becoming chancellor. Take a look these extracts from a 1998 Treasury press release entitled “Investing in Britain”:

decisions on investments and existing assets will be taken on the basis of what delivers the public interest. What counts is what works. So there will be a programme of asset sales and additional investments financed by PFI arrangements;

The following public private partnerships are also planned so as to:

  • new commercial opportunities for the Royal Mint and a broader partnership with the private sector for the Tote;
  • in addition, the Government plans sales in 1999-2000 of: a further tranche of student loans;
  • the plans include £2 3/4 billion a year of local authority asset receipts.

Full marks for effort, though.

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