You would expect Gordon Brown feels he owns quite enough banks already. But some are seeing signs that he wants more. As Ben Brogan points out, prime minister’s use of the phrase “non-bank institutions” has prompted speculation that a new government bank will be born.
The idea of creating a new lending institution has already been raised in the City. Its advocates see some merit in establishing a body to lend or take stakes in medium sized companies. David Reid Scott, chairman of the advisory firm Hawkpoint, argues that it could be based on two institutions set up after the war: the Finance Corporation for Industry and the Industrial Commercial and Finance Corporation.
Cynics would say the opportunity to invoke Churchill is probably too appealing for the prime minister to resist**. If he was feeling particularly mischievous, he could even call it GB Investments. Read more
Just got the news from Kevin Coyne – one of the challengers against Derek Simpson – that he received 244 branch nominations, not far behind Simpson’s 313. (For the background see my blog earlier today). He is now calling for the runners-up to, ahem, unite with him.
Simpson, the sitting joint general secretary of Unite, is suddenly looking far from secure. Read more
Hazel Blears, interviewed just now by the DCLG select committee, has ruled out a council tax revaluation – but only until the next general election.
There has long been speculation that the move is imminent. It would be hugely controversial as millions of households could end up paying more (even if millions of others would not). Read more
I wrote in the FT over the New Year about the leadership election for the Amicus wing of super-union Unite*. Derek Simpson is facing a challenge brought about by his determination to remain as co-head of the union until 2011.
Why should we care? Because Unite is by far the biggest donor to the Labour party, a position which could change if Mr Simpson is toppled. Read more