Chancellor selling Eurostar

george osborne Seeing as the government is unwilling to chase big companies for the tax they haven't paid, there's only one thing for it - selling off the family silver.

With that, George Osborne is going to sell its 40% stake in Eurostar before the election.

Gideon says that he's looking for bid by the end of this month and hopes that the privatisation of the Channel tunnel train operator will raise £300m for the country. Looks like we're selling a company that is making a profit (£18.6m last year and £16.3m the year before).

Of course, selling a profitable business is not a new thing or indeed, a bad idea. However, you can't help but wonder if we're all looking at a repeat of the absolute farce that was the Royal Mail sell-off.

Today, Osborne will say: “I am determined that we go on making the decisions to reform the British economy and tackle our debts. So we will proceed with the potential sale of the UK’s shareholding in Eurostar today. Ensuring we can deliver the best quality infrastructure for Britain and the best value for money for the taxpayer are key parts of our long-term economic plan."

"As part of our aim to achieve £20bn from asset sales by 2020, the sale proceeds would make an important contribution to the task of reducing the public sector debt."

Here's a thing - Britain's national debt is £1.4tn, so the sale of Eurostar isn't going to make much of a dent and, of course, privatising railways hasn't really worked out for everyone.


  • OldGit
    Anyone would think the last government was a shining example of large corporation tax gathering. Oh, and there goes the 'absolute farce' comment on Royal Mail floatation AGAIN - care to substantiate it with the share price at 3.94 ( 19% higher) - or would you like a diatribe on how the stock markets work. Oh, and while I'm on the subject, how much did Gordo sell off the gold reserves at - you remeber Gordo - the one who said 'We dont need Manufacturing - we've got the Banks'. And the solution to reducing 1.4 trillion of debt is to borrow more money so 'the Economy can grow and we can all get paid loads of money. Final point - I hate the Tories as well - all Politicians are W*nkers who's only interest is to get back/stay in power.
  • Matron
    Oh dear, someone let grandpa use the computer. Where in the above article did they even mention the previous government? The Royal Mail farce was indeed a farce as they sold it off for far less than it was valued, as advised by the same companies which bought a load of the shares and then immediately made a fat profit.
  • Alexis
    Wasn't the UK Film Council a quango that was actually making profit before it was culled as well?
  • Mr M.
    @ OldGit If shares are still 19% higher the tax payer has lost out massively. Unfortunately no government gives a shit about the long term. Instead of £300m now, we can wait 15-20 years to earn that in profit, then continue making profit for the benefit of the entire country.
  • OldGit
    If the shares had floated at 4 quid there would not have been the take up, so the float would have failed - if you accept a fair valuation is the current value, and that people buy the shares TO MAKE MONEY. Matron - Dont mention the previous government! - unless you think the tone of the article was somehow biased towards one particular party. And explain why, if Royal Mail was indeed worth 6 quid a share - its price is now under 4.
  • Samantha
    You'd think a part of their long-term economic plan would be keeping a business that returns a handsome annual profit. Hmm gosh, it almost seems like he's lying, like he doesn't really care about long term forecasts at all but just wants the sale to be on the balance sheet for the final budget before the election. That rather than give a damn about the best long-term interests of the country, he's concerned instead only with re-election. .... But that just can't possibly be the case, a politician lying, who's ever heard of such a ridiculous thing?!
  • Mr M.
    @Old Git Following the float, a week later shares were at £5 up from £3.30, that means people were happily trading them. A bit more than a week later they were near £6 - people were still trading them. They could been floated at £4 with still huge interest, quite possibly even £5.
  • The S.
    Obviously in an alternate universe, the statement: "As part of our aim to achieve £20bn from asset sales by 2020, the sale proceeds would make an important contribution to the task of reducing the public sector debt.” Would bring forth cries of "Asset stripper!" and accusations of back-handers/corruption etc. Obviously in this universe, nothing could be further from the truth.

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