Daily Archives: January 19, 2009

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Will George Osborne and Ken Clarke see eye to eye on the big economic issues? So far, the record has been decidedly patchy. Indeed, in recent years it is hard to find anything they agree on. Read more

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A politically explosive economic policy was smuggled into the bank bailout today. With little fanfare, the Bank of England was given a green light to start printing money, should it deign it necessary to do so. Welcome to the world of “quantitative easing”. Read more

Jim Pickard

This blog asked yesterday morning whether Gordon Brown really meant what he said when he demanded that banks should quantify all of their toxic loans.

A research note put out on Friday by analysts – at RBS, ironically – points out that “the domestic UK banks are technically insolvent on a full marked-to-market basis” (although it adds that this is not unusual at this stage in the economic cycle). Is the prime minister sure that he wants them all to come clean? Read more

Jim Pickard

I know, it’s not quite an anagram…but I like the idea of Ken Clarke as a pot-bellied, cigar-smoking superman come to save the Tories from their credit crunch-induced sense of drift.

And yes, you read it here first – maybe – that the 68-year old has at last agreed to make a return to the Tory front bench as shadow business secretary. This is part of a wider reshuffle in which Alan Duncan will remain in the shadow cabinet. Read more

Jim Pickard

This morning’s papers were full of info about the new insurance package which will help out any British bank which accepts the government’s offer. Here is the story on ft.com.

The real news to emerge since then is the fact that banks will be able to pay for this insurance using either cash or equity. In other words, we may see taxpayers taking an even bigger stake in RBS or Lloyds/HBOS. In theory the state may even take stakes in other banks – such as HSBC or Barclays - although this seems unlikely for now.