I agree but should the Conservatives be saying that the sale was "probably necessary"? Maybe but they should, as they have history, but also as they are the ones who are likely to be being stuck with this sell-off from 2010 but they should be sticking the boot in more and reminding the electorate just WHY this is "probably necessary" to do. That said it's a drop in the ocean when looking at the tsumani of borrowing that is forecast and the already high debt built up over Prudence's tenure. "Let's put that [16 billion] in perspective." writes Iain Dale,
"...we are all too keenly aware of his scorched earth policy which will see Britain's finances shredded ahead of a possible change in Government next year. We are witnessing an extension of Brown's scorched earth policy. This firesale is not in the national interest."
David Cameron said: "So, we've still got to get to grips with public spending, get to grips with the deficit - and we must make sure we get good value for money." Remember the gold sales and as Vince Cable has pointed out about this is that the government are "proposing to sell off in very depressed markets", no change there then. According to the BBC Margaret Eaton (chairman Local Government Association) said she "was amazed the announcement had been made without consulting her organisation." Hmmm, well actually all this has been announced before anyway, a usual New Labour - and especially Gordon Brown - ploy: the sale of the Tote was a 2001 Labour manifesto pledge, Labour failed to sell its shares in Urenco in 2007. The Dartford Crossing sale was announced earlier this year as was the sale of the Student Loan Book, David Lammy said in the House on the 12th March this year:
The budget deficit in August was £16.1bn!
Thanks to Tim on the Conservative Home for these comments (22:02 in the second link)
"The Government still intend to make sales from the student loan book, but it is clear that that should be done only when we can get a good return for the taxpayer. For the time being, the market conditions do not allow that, but we will actively look to identify opportunities for a sale that represents value for money as market conditions improve."