Daily Archives: January 31, 2011

Jim Pickard

I’m informed that a compromise will be presented soon after 5pm which could bring the Somme-like battle in the House of Lords to an end after weeks of late-night sittings and abrasive filibustering. Although one source tells me it may turn out to be less of a “compromise” and more of a potential way out of the impasse.

More here when it happens: For now here is Nick Watt at the Guardian explaining the situation earlier this afternoon. 

Now here is a startling statistic uncovered by my colleague Chris Cook.

Free schools will receive almost twice as much state funding for taking a poor pupil rather than a child from a more well-off background. 

Jim Pickard

It’s not quite Keys/Gray but amusing enough. You need to listen to this recording quite closely, the key moment is 17:01:45. You can hear an MP – I believe it’s Eric Ollerenshaw, Tory MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood – chatting to another member of the localism bill committee.They are about to take evidence from companies including Barrett, Taylor Wimpey and Redrow.

We’ve got the bloody builders next,” he whispers. 

Jim Pickard

George Osborne could begin the sell-off of RBS early next year, marking the start of Europe’s biggest every privatisation, as my colleagues report this morning. If the bank is profitable by the turn of the year – and if the share price is substantially higher – an initial tranche of £5bn could be sold.

Intriguingly, I’m hearing separately that Lloyds Banking Group could be even earlier off the blocks, with ministers keen to start the LBG sell-off first. In theory this process could begin before Christmas. 

Jim Pickard

My former colleague Fiona Harvey revealed last October that Chris Huhne’s plan for a green investment bank was being thwarted by Treasury officials, who wanted it to be more like a fund. Then in December Mr Huhne let the cat out of the bag in public when he admitted that the Treasury had won the battle and the new entity probably wouldn’t have the powers to issue bonds*.

Without leverage, the fund will only have £1bn to spend (plus £1bn from asset sales) rather than the £4-6bn demanded by the renewables industry.