The Tories are on a roll. Another ripper of an idea has just entered the astonishing mind of George Osbore and his team at the Laurel & Hardy Institute of Fiscal Studies.
The public could be offered discounted shares in state-owned banks under a “people’s bonus” plan outlined by Tory shadow chancellor George Osborne.
In a Sunday Times interview, Mr Osborne said the measure would be a reward for the £850bn of public money used to prop up failing financial institutions. Young people and those on low incomes would be offered extra discounts.
Labour called the plan an “expensive political gimmick”, while the Lib Dems said it was an attempt to buy votes.
Mr Osborne told the Sunday Times: “The bankers have had their bonuses. We want a people’s bank bonus for the people’s money that was put into these organisations.” It was expected people would be offered shares worth between a few hundred and few thousand pounds at a discount on the market price, the paper reported.
There could be extra discounts for young people, low-income families and parents saving for their children.
Osbore wants people to ‘save’ – what a marvellous idea to get people who are already over stretched with debt to get into even more debt by buying shares in one of the most volatile shares in the market.
To be fair to Osbore he did say the share offer would only be made when the banks were properly regulated and could not take the kinds of risks that preceded the recession. It could be some time before we see hordes of people pushing prams and wearing tracksuits or impeccably kitted out in Boden or Hackett kit rushing to the Banks to buy the shares. Given that the shares are only worth about a third of what the government paid for them – the economics are not looking too good.
I’m with Vince Cable on this one….
Lib Dem Treasury spokesman