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Should we all get a piece of RBS and Lloyds?

Robert Peston | 08:19 UK time, Monday, 7 March 2011

If you were running Royal Bank of Scotland or Lloyds, would you welcome or hate the idea of every one of the 45m adults on the UK's electoral register having a direct shareholding in your bank?

Lloyds branch

The management of those banks might see this radical form of popular capitalism as a way of bridging the yawning gulf between banks and people, which has so poisoned banks' attempts to rebuild their reputations - along with their financial strength - since the great crash of 2008 (see Mervyn King's choice words about the banks this weekend, as just one manifestation of the rift).

If everyone could profit in a tangible, personal sense from the recovery of the banks, perhaps there would be less of a general feeling around the place that banks and bankers are only in it for themselves, and never mind the rest of us.

That, at least, would be the positive opportunity for bankers that could arise from the proposal by a Lib Dem MP Stephen Williams - which has been developed by the financial adviser, Portman Capital - to distribute to all of us as individuals (or at least those of us on the electoral register) most of the nationalised shares in Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds.

This distribution to almost everyone of 79% of the 83% of taxpayers' stake in RBS and 41% of the holding in Lloyds would be subject to a clawback mechanism which ensured that the £66bn injected by the state into these two banks would be repaid.

Once we had the shares, the shares could not be sold by any of us unless and until the price was above the price paid for them by the Treasury in the great rescue of 2008. And as and when we sold them, the new private shareholders would only pocket the increment above that rescue price: the rest of the dosh would revert to the Treasury, to pay back that £66bn.

It looks like a neat scheme, and has been described by the Treasury as an "interesting contribution to the debate" (so perhaps damning with faint phrase, but not at least a "stupid boy, Pike" rejoinder).

RBS branch

There is no doubt that it would be ferociously complicated to organise. And ministers and officials would be acutely aware of the great opportunity here to spend a fortune on online distribution mechanisms which ended up depriving millions of their entitlement.

That said, HMRC's online interface with taxpayers seems to have worked ok. And if Facebook was able to acquire more than 500m active users from an initial outlay of £25m, it's surely not as expensive and complicated as it once was to electronically distribute shares to the UK adult population and then monitor the relationship between shareholders and banks.

For Portman, however, the biggest advantage of the scheme isn't that it would at a stroke turn the UK into a shareholding democracy or would give something back to all of us for the economic pain we've suffered in the past few years as a result of the reckless lending and investing of the banks.

Portman believes that distributing the shares in that way would improve the prospects of the state being repaid its £66bn: UK Financial Investments (UKFI) on behalf of the Treasury would not have to suffer an "overhang" discount each time it sold a tranche of shares, a painful discount necessitated by the market's knowledge that the state isn't a long term holder of the stock, and that the initial sale tranches would only be the first of many.

There may indeed be that advantage. On the other hand, it is also possible that the Lloyds and RBS stock prices would be depressed below the rescue price for years by the knowledge that there would be a flood of popular sales of the stock, each time the price approached a level that generated a return for the state and for the individual.

As for the attitude of the boards of RBS and Lloyds, they will wonder two things.

First, would the distribution of shares to millions and millions of people let them off the leash, give them free rein to do more or less what they like - because if the shares became so widely held in such small quantities, it would be immensely difficult to put together any kind of alliance of investors to pressurise the directors to behave in a particular way?

Extreme popular capitalism could release bank directors from being answerable either to the irksome government (as owner) or to governance-obsessed investment institutions.

But maybe there would be precisely the opposite effect of handing shares to every voter. If we all had the opportunity to make a few bob from the performance of RBS and Lloyds, perhaps we would all become obsessed with how the banks' directors manage things.

Perhaps we would express our views, via social networks and in opinion polls, in ways that made it very difficult for the boards of banks to ignore.

My guess is that the City establishment will view Mr Williams' proposal to democratise the banks as naive and impractical. Which, given the recent track record of that establishment, some would say is one very good reason why the government should not summarily dismiss the idea of bank shares for all.

Comments

Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    80% spend
    10% keep
    10% reinvest

  • Comment number 2.

    I suspect the shares would be sld as a windfall as soon as most people possibly could.

    Surely this is a chance for the UKFI to be turned into a sovereign wealth fund, and to manage the stakes as long term infrastructure investments, allowing a gradual and orderly unwinding of the positions in the banks and diversifying into other assets?

  • Comment number 3.

    "... damning with faint phrase"
    That put a smile on my face. Thanks, Robert!

  • Comment number 4.

    Giving shares to taxpayers is a good idea in theory ... but then what happens ... we all cash them in at a rigged price and the shares all go back to the same bad banks and the status quo is maintained.

    The shares should go to the 'big society bank' ... using the monies to invest in British rojects outside of London /SE ... Scottish New Towns, N Ireland, WElsh Valleys, Cumbrian Coastline, West Midlands etc

    The private UK banks would then be required to have to co-operate with big society bank to invets in supporting long term sustainable regional UK job creating energy saving/creating and other projects ... like full UK electrification by 2025.

    THINK
    THINK!
    THINK BIG ... GO FOR IT ... the country will grind to a halt within 5 years unless we act now ... debts, fuel crisis, more and more have nots, unsustainable population levels ... THINK ... have a strategy for getting the most leverage out of our investment in the UK banks by investing wisely, long term, in the UK

    Useless bent two faced politicians need to think instead of wasting more and more money on 'over-privilege'!

    HSBC Goodbye ... Go to HK ... Goodbye! We don't need you to spend our capital overseas for us and dodge taxes here ... Goodbye!

  • Comment number 5.

    I actually think this isn't such a bad idea - afterall, the shares were bought with taxpayer money as so many people keep saying, so the government shouldn't see this as a loss and the recipients should perhaps see this as a gift of £1000 to cover any marginal increase in tax they are paying.

    However, I deeply suspect that many would see this as a windfall and cash in as soon as, still dumping a lot of shares into the market at the same time.

    There would no doubt also be a queue of middle men who are happy to help the unwise, foolish, ignorant, old, dim, desperate etc. with trading and investment advice... for a fee or percentage.
    I'm sure there would also be a fair amount of secondary trading as the savvy scoop up the shares at their still depressed price and hang on to them for the longer term and the fatter profits.

    Its a good idea though and maybe worth the potential downsides.

  • Comment number 6.

    It looks like someone will make a lot of commission when the people decide to exercise these fancy new derivatives.
    It's an interesting idea. The sums per person though are too small, so the peoples profit will come with a hefty commission percentage creamed of it.
    It is difficult to promote wider share ownership when large investors pay commission in basis points, and small investors pay in percentages.
    It would be more efficient for the government to make a profit on our behalf and keep our tax bills down.

  • Comment number 7.

    The BT privatisation never did them any harm. I know that only a proportion went for public subscription but it changed the image of BT as a public service from"out of order" to a progressive telecoms business very quickly. The public would stop whining about bank bonuses with the prospect of a share of the profits. The Board might have a problem, but then perhaps their mind set of the traditional model is the problem. Lateral thinking Mr Williams.

  • Comment number 8.

    Bit of a tangent I know, but Barcelona is de facto owned by small investor fans and it widely regarded as the best if not most profitable in the world. And anyway, desperate times call for desperate measures,............and things look pretty desperate. Got to give some of these new ideas a go. And with this one, nothing can really go wrong can it,............I mean what is the worst case scenario here?

  • Comment number 9.

    There are undoubtedly lots of practical issues to be resolved - should the shares be held in ISAs ? how will the scheme impact the balance-sheet of UK plc ?

    But people are already pitching in with suggestions: see
    http://cityunslicker.blogspot.com/2011/03/lib-dems-propose-bank-giveaway-sense.html
    and this idea could gather some serious momentum

  • Comment number 10.

    So much for active informed and militant shareholder power. Annual meetings would need some organising and voting on directors' pay would be a hoot!
    What is needed for the foreseeable future is the retention of public ownership and the creation of a supervisory board with SME, TU and HMG represented working with a formal charter/constitution which expresses the national economic interest as well as standards of user services.

  • Comment number 11.

    The directors have a duty to act in the interests of their shareholders, it will depend then on whether they see it from a left wing point of view and believe that the government are the shareholders, or a right wing point of view and see each of us taxpayers as its true owners.

    Somehow in todays top down state heavy command economy I can't see us benefiting one jot. How long before the EU demand the money?

  • Comment number 12.

    Yes let the Chinese have all the billions that banks like HSBC contribute to our economy every year. We don't want it. We can do without new hospitals and schools. They are still crap anyway. Many people would still be happy with them, even without all the money the banks have contributed towards paying for them over the years.

    If the BBC were to put on a production of Jack and the Beanstalk, the golden goose would be slaughtered in Act one, Scene one.

  • Comment number 13.

    1) I wonder what are the costs of administration and payback horizon uncertainty compared with the overhang effect?
    2) It seems like poor timing of an announcement, even if not policy. Fancy suggesting handouts at a time when other, more nervous, world leaders are doing the same.

  • Comment number 14.

    Good idea. Or... Let them have their bonuses providing the public get an equal bonus. After all where does the money come from in the first place? Forcing them to give an equal bonus back to the treasury over and above usual taxation simply recognizes they are not operating in a vacuum, but in a particular set of circumstances that make profit possible, namely British society.

  • Comment number 15.

    We already own a considerable percentage of RBS and about half of Lloyds.

    Just as we used to own the Electricity, Gas and Water companies. Let me remind everyone that the Government then sold us the property we already owned. The only merit in giving the shares to those on the electoral roll is that it provides a benefit to being on the roll which may be a good thing in itself.

    However when you look at the detail of the proposal (by one libdem guy!) what he wants to do is make the members of the public PAY for the shares we are GIVEN when we sell them! Tell Sid this is another con!

  • Comment number 16.

    Between the Governor of the Bank of England, barely competent but strangely at war with the banking industry, and this goofy Lib Dem concept to disperse LTSB and RBS among the masses, we are going to wreck an industry that we all need and rely on. The main beneficiaries of a mass distribution will be stockbrokers, was it their idea I wonder?

    However my friend Dick manages a betting shop in a down at heel seaside resort, and giving everyone in town £1000 of shares to replace the state benefits they will be losing shortly will help keep him in a job and boost the betting, tobacco, and alcohol sectors which pay a lot of tax, so it has its upside!

  • Comment number 17.

    This is a good idea, get the people on side. It seems rather unfair to distribute the shares equally though, surely the more tax someone pays, the more shares they should get?

  • Comment number 18.

    I think many readers are missing the a key point here. The government wants their investment back from any sale proceeds so the new investors will only see a return should the shares be sold above the government break even point. Think of it like a mortgage over your house, the mortgage company gets their money first.

    The scenario being set out is effectively making every person on the electoral role a holder of a derivative, where the shares are out of the money below the break even point and in the money above the break even point! Someone has a sense of humour!

  • Comment number 19.

    What a daft, silly, populist, insane idea. Proof of how doomed the UK is that even it's supposed leaders can't think straight. Govt pumps money into banks to save them, takes equity shares, then gives those shares away (to buy votes) and remains saddled with the debt burden it incurred in order to bail the banks out. What a wonderfully daft and ill-thought proposal. It would only make sense if the associated debt was spun-off to the public as well ...

    PS: the bonuses are a mathematical rouding error in this analysis

    Please tell us someone in the UK has more brain power than this !

  • Comment number 20.

    NEVER GETTING NUFFINK BACK - Can I put it any simpler?

    I love this scheme because it allows the Government to offload their worthless shares onto the public and then claim "a profit".

    However I would warn that issuing shares to people on the electoral roll only is discriminatory and open to legal challenge - I mean are we saying only voters pay taxes? This is typical of a numpty Government idea - like it came to them in the bath one morning whilst playing with their rubber ducks.

    "My guess is that the City establishment will view Mr Williams' proposal to democratise the banks as naive and impractical."

    Duh! - my 16 year old cat knows this. Luckliy he didn't stand for parliament or he would have put this coalition to shame - not easy being in power is it Lib Dems? Gotta watch your mouth as people now listen to you.

    " Which, given the recent track record of that establishment, some would say is one very good reason why the government should not summarily dismiss the idea of bank shares for all."

    Excellent - caught between the incomeptence and idiocy of bankers and the incompetence and idiocy of politicians (does anything ever change?)

    I must say the cringeworthy begging of the great blubbering bombshell that is Boris Johnson in order to keep HSBC in this country is quite frankly embarassing.

    The desperation of some to keep these bank in Britian is akin to the bar owner and undertaker begging the outlaws not to leave town since the new sherrif arrived because they are good for business.

    Self interest driving the nation - well it's rather unfortunate as this country isn't big enough for us all to insist on our demands being met (I wish someone would tell these Neo-liberal idiots that)

  • Comment number 21.

    7. At 09:22am on 7th Mar 2011, Datvires wrote:
    The BT privatisation never did them any harm. I know that only a proportion went for public subscription but it changed the image of BT as a public service from"out of order" to a progressive telecoms business very quickly. The public would stop whining about bank bonuses with the prospect of a share of the profits. The Board might have a problem, but then perhaps their mind set of the traditional model is the problem. Lateral thinking Mr Williams.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    You seem to ignore (or have forgotten) the fact that shareholders in RBS and Lloyds pre 2007 have basically lost their shirts, socks, and are down to their underwear, while the big bonus boys who got them there have lost nothing, and continue to cream billions every year, which in any rationally run organisation would go to shareholders.

    So your theory that giving the public shares will stop them "whining" about the bonus culture really doesn't wash- especially when the shares don't perform.

    Don't forget the volume of pre 2007 bad debt which is still there, though cunningly concealed by every subterfuge known to man. Until that debt is eradicated, these banks can't and won't perform. There is simply no shareholder value in these banks- which is why a giveaway is the government's only way out.

  • Comment number 22.

    I agree that the shares held by the goverment should be given to the people, but only to those who bank at Lloyds or RBS.

  • Comment number 23.

    It's the Yeltsin plan isn't it? Yeltsin was the president of a 'new Russia' that issued shares in State-owned businesses to its citizens. Abramovich and other oligarchs bought them up with 'cash-for-your-vodka' deals and became billionaires overnight.
    Is Saint Cable the new Yeltsin? Let's have a look now. Both are rather fat and a bit screw-ballish. Could they in any way, be related?

  • Comment number 24.

    ...by the way, you know when everyone is saying "why didn't anyone warn us?" - I shall refer you all to this warning.

    http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international-business/boe-governor-king-warns-of-crisis-as-problems-stay-intact/articleshow/7643452.cms

    Merv joins the revolution - the truth has set him free. Lets see all those bailed out capitalists who have previously idolised King for his easy money - now criticise him because they "refuse to believe".

    Crisis mark II coming to a bank near you soon. I'm off to buy gold coins today in preparation (especially as my last lot of gold has added nearly 30% in value since I bought it - and it's real, I can touch it - it's not some promise from an ETF)

    ...and once again folks - judge people by their actions - not their words.....

    http://www.cityam.com/news-and-analysis/what-the-other-papers-say-morning-430

    "TRADERS “SHORT” DOLLAR AS CURRENCY LOSES ATTRACTION
    Hedge funds and forex dealers are betting record amounts against the dollar, reflecting a growing belief that the US currency has lost its haven appeal and that Eurozone interest rates will soon rise. As the crisis in the Middle East has worsened, the latest exchange data show that traders are selling “short” the currency. The big US fiscal deficit and concerns about the effect of rising oil prices have been blamed by some for the dollar’s slide."

    Shorting the dollar? - the safe haven currency - in a crisis???? These hedge funds are either very, very stupid - or they know what's coming next.

    Gerald celente predicted the downfall of the dollar about 5 years ago - most people said he was mad.

  • Comment number 25.

    #2. At last! Why not transfer the shares into a Sovereign Wealth Fund, managed by a non-political and independent board, that build wealth to be spent in the nation's interests (e.g. infrastructure projects, lottery-style funding). I would rather this than a costly £1000 per head giveaway that will see 85% of people immediately sell their shares only to spend their gains on the latest 2 for 1 alcoholic offerings by the supermarkets. Think long-term and leave something for the debt-burdened generation.

  • Comment number 26.

    Giving free shares to the electorate sounds fine and certainly might be a LibDem vote winner but the presumption that the shares would be allocated to voters on the basis that they are registered to vote is a potential problem.

    Not all voters pay tax and it is tax revenue that subsidised the Bank bailout not voters or their votes.

  • Comment number 27.

    ....and before anyone accepts any shares from the Government they should read this article - or you can listen to investing advice from accountants in Milton Keynes!

    http://www.businessinsider.com/stock-market-forecast-2011-3

    The earnings will be returning to the mean - unless of course "it's different this time" - as every capitalist professes.

  • Comment number 28.

    Sounds like a case of divide and conquer to me. 45 million individuals, most of whom will cash in on the shares at the earliest opportunity. No unified voice and no clout. Our opinions will count for very little as we are brushed aside by bigger, wealthier shareholders.

    And what happens regarding dividends? Do we as individuals receive the dividends while we wait for the share price to rise? Isn't the government losing out on some much needed funds? Of course once passed into public ownership HMRC will be able to tax us on the dividends (if we get them) and the profits should we sell them.

  • Comment number 29.

    The Russians discovered, at great expense to themselves, that "the whole electorate" simply isn't interested in owning an infinitesimal fraction if a large business, which they (usually correctly) regard as worth nothing to them in the short term. Even given the high dividend yields associated with banking shares, you're looking at a dividend of less than a hundred pounds per person per year. And your chances of selling a single share at a substantial profit any time soon seem remote.

    By putting a floor under the sale price, this proposal does at least contain a caveat to prevent the overnight creation of a cadre of banking oligarchs, but surely any scheme which so disastrously demonstrated the Law of Unintended Consequences last time round really ought to be left to die in peace.

  • Comment number 30.

    17. At 09:53am on 7th Mar 2011, Lindsay_from_Hendon wrote:

    "This is a good idea, get the people on side. It seems rather unfair to distribute the shares equally though, surely the more tax someone pays, the more shares they should get?"

    Typical capitalist thinking - it's all about the money. This is your achillies heel I'm afraid.

    So a volunteer who helps out the nation by looking after the elderly, the sick, the young - who pays no tax (as they have no earnings) isn't deserving of a share of the benefits?

    How short sighted of you - clearly you don't realise that 'paying tax' isn't the B-all and end-all of it - "saving public spending" is as worthy as paying taxes.

    It's sad how you are blinkered by your love of money.

  • Comment number 31.

    A completely daft, insane idea that isn't ever going to happen. The only upside if it did, would be that I could decide what to do with my money from my bank share holding rather than have it wasted by incompetent politicians or city spivs. I noticed recently the value of the Norwegian Sovereign Fund from their North Dea Oil. What happened to ours? Oh, we chucked it all away. Just as we did with the public utilities we used to own until the government sold them to us. And these publicly owned banks will go the same way, making sure all the tories mates in the City earn as much as possible. What will we get? Nothing as usual.

  • Comment number 32.

    22. At 10:09am on 7th Mar 2011, Allen Soper wrote:

    "I agree that the shares held by the goverment should be given to the people, but only to those who bank at Lloyds or RBS."

    Why - was it only their taxes that were used to bailout the bank?

    £20 says you're a disgruntled Lloyds or RBS customer who thinks they can achieve 'justice' for the years of rip-off fees you have endured and that nobody else in the country really matters.

  • Comment number 33.

    Lindsay_from_Hendon wrote:

    This is a good idea, get the people on side. It seems rather unfair to distribute the shares equally though, surely the more tax someone pays, the more shares they should get?

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    But Lindsay I thought we were all in this together? Obviously not as far as you're concerned.

  • Comment number 34.

    12. At 09:36am on 7th Mar 2011, sandy winder wrote:

    "Yes let the Chinese have all the billions that banks like HSBC contribute to our economy every year."

    Contribute? - or extract? - do you know how bankers make a profit?

    "We don't want it. We can do without new hospitals and schools. They are still crap anyway. Many people would still be happy with them, even without all the money the banks have contributed towards paying for them over the years."

    Really? - well the next time someone is run over in the street I shall inform them that "they didn't want the hospitals anyway" - not that the banks built them, the way you carry on you make out that banks are philanthropists and not leeches - but sadly leeches is what theya are (just think about where that capital originates from)

    "If the BBC were to put on a production of Jack and the Beanstalk, the golden goose would be slaughtered in Act one, Scene one."

    Aw diddums - wasssa madder? - the world not turning out as the fairytale you were told it would be?

    Serves you right for reading all that banking PR and believing it.

  • Comment number 35.

    Sorry namuncura (comment 19) but the idea isn't as daft as you think.

    Your basic mistake is to assume governments have their own money. They don't - they just borrow money on behalf of their people.

    Therefore, returning the £1,000 of shares to the people, balances out the £1,000 of extra debt per person that the government borrowed for us when they bailed out the banks.

    Essentially then, we will all feel richer when we get the shares but in reality we will just be getting our own money back. We will still be left with £1,000 of extra government debt to repay but the grand in our pocket will help us afford the increased taxes needed for the government to service the remaining debt.

    In my view, its a great idea as it will make the banks far more accountable to public wishes.

  • Comment number 36.

    Not really a practical suggestion. The Government borrowed the money to acquire the shareholdings, in part literally and in part in principle by shouldering liabilities when the coffers were empty.

    The Treasury needs to sell these at a profit to repay the deficit.

    I would suggest that the 'Populist' thing to do would be for the Treasury to trickle shares on to the market for a while as the banks recover to help pay down the debt and then privatise the remainder, probably in the run up to the next election, in a public share sale similar to the big BT and Gas sales in the 80's. Selling to the public at a modest discount, to allow for a small windfall, while off loading the share for a chunk of cash may be two birds with one stone.

  • Comment number 37.

    I am sorry but this is just a smokescreen to obfuscate the critical need for full and fundamental banking reform.

    The banks need to be broken up as they are holding the country to ransom and stopping a proper economy developing. Their behaviour is also preventing the proper functioning of democracy.

    This proposal is just a rehash of silly old Sid and the gas where the little people were eventually told that they had to sell their shares to the big boys at a fixed price.

    There is no alternative but to split retail banking from the investment `casino' banks. The taxpayer guarantee can then apply only to the retail banks and the gamblers can then keep their bonuses. Everyone can then be happy.

    If this means that banks flee the country, well good riddance to bad rubbish. We need usurers like a hole in the head which is what they will get if they end up pulling the same stunts in China which they have been pulling here.

  • Comment number 38.

    Neither "faint praise" or indeed any praise for this wishy-washy Lib-Dem idea.
    Some on this thread are familiar with the concept of industrial democracy, which was so heralded during the 1970s and 1980s. On the surface it sounds a nice idea, union and worker representatives on the boards of large companies, etc. Then we have had employee share holding schemes, so that everyone working at the company felt they had a share in its future, offered when companies like United Airlines were nearly bust for the nth time in the USA. However, research on this last project showed that staff never really felt they owned the airline, (what a surprise) despite the corporate adverts to this effect.
    The issue regarding the banks is not simply about money, although issues like bonuses play a large part in people's emotions on this topic, from both sides. In addition, one must look at power. Who holds the power to make decisions about bonuses? It would appear not to be the major shareholders in RBS and Lloyds (i.e. the government), but rather the main board. Giving £1000 of shares to 45 million people £45Billion is quite a lot of power. The question is whether that power could be organised in such a manner to put the squeeze on the board (threatening their removal at an AGM if they did not comply and replacing them with 'The People's Board'). That would see a few changes in these banks!

  • Comment number 39.

    I think the idea that it should only be given to people on the electoral register is questionable. Everyone pays tax on some level (even my son pays VAT out of his pocket money). So I think everyone who pays tax should be entitled.

    That said, I'd like the government to give itself some of the shares, in order that it can pay back some of the debt it took on in the first place.

  • Comment number 40.

    To me, the script reads like this

    1) Government grants a small number of shares (per head) to the population. Managed online by a stable and established web portal.
    2) Population watch the shares, and see that they make money (even if the principal needs to be repaid to the treasury)
    3) Joe public now thinks he is a "sophisticated investor" and starts to dabble in the stock market. - yes, some will sell as soon as there's a profit, others will be "newly awakened to the potential of share ownership"
    4) The market rises as greater amounts of money from the general public are invested
    5) These investments are across the board, not only in well managed shares, but also in more risky and less well managed companies. The portfolios are"diversified" across a range of sectors that the individual mostly knows nothing about - he just knows the mantra "It's wise to diversify"
    6) As the public's positions pan out, more and more people lose confidence in the market as their poorly invested cash starts to evaporate. Money starts to be drawn out.
    7) The true sophisticated investors short-sell the overinvested shares. This causes a self-fulfilling prophecy. "Better sell now, the big money thinks stock values are going to fall" - causing a "market correction" and money is yet again transported from the coffers of the general public to the savvy Seasoned investor/Investment bank/etc.

    Having shares doesn't make you an investor, any more than owning a piano makes you a pianist.

  • Comment number 41.

    It's a nice idea but not sure it's a runner in an age of austerity.

    Transferring money from the public finances to individual members of the public at the same time as cuts / taxes are doing the opposite doesnt seem to make sense.

    In fact, it could mean more taxes / cuts for people in real trouble in return for shares that may or may not give them a return in time to save their situations.

  • Comment number 42.

    Wow, it took until point 18 for someone to actually underastand the basics of this.

    The current problem is that whenever the government indicates it is interested in offloading their shares, the price will be depressed due to the overhang.

    By my esimate, everyone gets about £1000 of shares, that is about 2000 shares per person, with a government break even of about 50p. If this was to happen, and i sold my shares at say 55p, the government would get their £1000 back and i would be left with the incremental increase in value, about £100, which i may or may not then have to pay tax on.

    Not many people would sell for £100 and so would hold on for more, but who is to say how much more. Therefore, in the ideal scenario, there is a steady drip of shares onto the open market, eradicating the overhang.

    The issue is that not everyone can manage shares and therefore the intermediaries will have a field day and will want their cut and a management fee. The setup cost of this scheme would also be pretty high.

    My biggest issue in all this is still that everyone sees the price at which the shares were bought as the break even price. As if there is no opportunity cost for that $66billion, how much have we spent on interest in funding this? Therefore what is a genuine "break even" value?

  • Comment number 43.

    15. At 09:50am on 7th Mar 2011, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    "However when you look at the detail of the proposal (by one libdem guy!) what he wants to do is make the members of the public PAY for the shares we are GIVEN when we sell them! Tell Sid this is another con!"

    No

    As a taxpayer, your tax money will have been used. but you will not have paid for it the shares directly. If the shares are given to you and you sell them, then it is only logical that you pay back to the government the money that they paid out to effect the initial purchase whilst you keep the profit. That way, the Treasury recoups the value of the investment they made, albeit at par

    However, being on the electoral roll and being a tax payer are two distinctly different things and therein lies the real problem. Surely as tax is spun as being progressive ie the moer you earn the more you pay, then should not the higher earners get more shares and those who do not pay get nothing? Or is it only classed as "progressive" when taking tax?

  • Comment number 44.

    27. At 10:17am on 7th Mar 2011, writingsonthewall wrote:
    ....and before anyone accepts any shares from the Government they should read this article - or you can listen to investing advice from accountants in Milton Keynes!

    http://www.businessinsider.com/stock-market-forecast-2011-3

    The earnings will be returning to the mean - unless of course "it's different this time" - as every capitalist professes.

    - I note that you ignored this bit:

    "So, as ever, you should maintain a diversified portfolio of multiple asset classes, including stocks, bonds, cash, and real-estate. If the stock portion of that portfolio has inflated massively in the past two years, however, you might want to consider rebalancing."

    You are overweight in gold, you should rebalance - take profits! Still I'm not sure why you are investing in gold, you won't need money in your circular cities of the future! I watached Zeitgeist Moving Forward over the weekend, please tell me it's a parody.

  • Comment number 45.

    It's a great idea. It'd increase interest by the public in how these banks are run. It'd make the banks accountable to the public as well. Also it could be used as a 'pump primer' to encourage people to build up a portfolio of shares for their retirement.

  • Comment number 46.

    12. At 09:36am on 7th Mar 2011, sandy winder wrote:
    Yes let the Chinese have all the billions that banks like HSBC contribute to our economy every year. We don't want it. We can do without new hospitals and schools. They are still crap anyway. Many people would still be happy with them, even without all the money the banks have contributed towards paying for them over the years.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    HSBC would not be so foolish as to move to China. Why? Because they get far better treatment in the UK than they would under the Chinese regime. By a lobg mile.

  • Comment number 47.

    "Not all voters pay tax and it is tax revenue that subsidised the Bank bailout not voters or their votes. "

    Really - whilst theoretically true, realistically how many voters go through life avoiding all the taxes that exist, VAT (on electricity/gas), fuel duty, road tax, Insurance Premium tax, stamp duty, capital gains, inheritance etc etc.

  • Comment number 48.

    24. At 10:12am on 7th Mar 2011, writingsonthewall wrote:

    "Crisis mark II coming to a bank near you soon. I'm off to buy gold coins today in preparation (especially as my last lot of gold has added nearly 30% in value since I bought it - and it's real, I can touch it - it's not some promise from an ETF)"

    30. At 10:20am on 7th Mar 2011, writingsonthewall wrote:

    "Typical capitalist thinking - it's all about the money. This is your achillies heel I'm afraid."

    So the monetary value of gold going up is not capitalist as WOTW owns some, but other peoples thoughts are typical capitalist thinking as it is about the money.

    I spy, with my little eye, something beginning with C. And it ends with ontradiction

    Oh, hang on, capitalism is a contradiction
    Hang on, WOTW is buynig gold for himself, not all of us

    Hes' clearly a capitalist :-)

  • Comment number 49.

    30. At 10:20am on 7th Mar 2011, writingsonthewall wrote:
    Typical capitalist thinking - it's all about the money. This is your achillies heel I'm afraid.

    - WOTW is against making a profit/gain. Hang on:

    24. At 10:12am on 7th Mar 2011, writingsonthewall wrote:
    Crisis mark II coming to a bank near you soon. I'm off to buy gold coins today in preparation (especially as my last lot of gold has added nearly 30% in value since I bought it - and it's real, I can touch it - it's not some promise from an ETF)

    - WOTW brags about making a 30% return on gold coins (gold coins! The markup on them is criminal, why don't you buy gold bars old bean?). Nice to know that you support the idea of making money through speculation.

  • Comment number 50.

    LOL

    Totally ridiculous and endemically deceitful.

    As well as all the Peston mentioned problems/issues and complications there are still many not mentioned.

    Banks may feign their disagreement with this at the costs of administration but it would ultimately give them direct access to "every" shareholder to approach them for further investment, raising of capital.

    Also, many, if not the majority would probably cash in their shares at earliest possibility either just for quick profit & access to cash or because ultimately many people rightly do not believe that enough has been done or is being done to prevent such a banking/financial catastrophy from repeating, hence the shares may become valueless in the future, and like BT and other state public offerings the majority of shares just revert to a few large investors.

    What would be the individual cost price of selling shares, especially once this is considered/accounted for on top of governments claw back which may damage share prices at point of discretionary sale, it may result in a piece of paper that has no real terms value/worth upon sale. To own it, would have some apparant invisible fantasy value, as to sell would damage that value.


    If such a collapse was to happen again, then shareholders will have lost 3 times, 1st taxpayer funding of banks & economic/jobs/wealth damage and rising rices, then loss of value of any shares and then also once again be forced to pay for any future collapse via a plethora of new negative cost expense and losses once again dictated and imposed upon the public, taxpayers, benefits receivers, property ownership, prices, VAT, etc etc etc.

    It sounds more to me like forcing a bad blood transfussion on the entire public to facilitate a "big society" responsibility and attitude change to banks, for we are less likely to attack and condem our own and what we may directly profit from.

    It's also a devious way to encourage completion of Census to insinuate that their may be some future financial benefit.

  • Comment number 51.

    Obviously, bankers must be brought to heel. But might it not be wise to dismantle all the banks in this manner? Some of them have threatened to move away from the UK, and we must be sure to strike first in the interests of our nation.

  • Comment number 52.

    Where’s the lateral thinking gone? Sometimes we need to look at where things will be in a few years from now.
    Isn’t it clear to anyone that in a few years from now the majority of “retail bank” activities (the majority of payments and receipts for ordinary folk) could be dealt with by mobile phone companies and supermarkets acting in concert? Even cash withdrawals could be organized this way. Look at what is happening in certain African countries, for example.
    Let’s explore radical ways of giving banking licences just for retail activities to those who are less likely to attract speculators, and go around the current casino banking system completely, and destroy their “too big to fail” monopoly and their stranglehold over society.

  • Comment number 53.

    Just had to comment on this one. So the government, having bought shares with public money now want to pass these shares to the general public whilst they are underwater with a proviso that should they go up they get their origional investment back. Can I offer any off you people the same deal with some of my shares that are underwater?

    And when the banks are forced to raise more money and they decide to do this via a rights issue how much does the share price then have to get to in order for the public to make anything at all?

  • Comment number 54.

    Forget banks. Why not privatise oxygen? The Big Society could run its distribution for nothing, while the chief of say BritOx picks up say £6.5 million a year?

  • Comment number 55.

    This proposal seems to me to have many flaws, not least of which is the massive cost of setting up the distribution of these shares. Imagine 45 million 50 page A4 documents being dispatched to shareholders every year for the AGM: how much would this take out of any profits earned to be paid out?
    The widespread shareholding would have the same effect as that of selling off 1sq.ft. parcels of land to stop a new road project. It will strangle the original concept for a while but in the end, after a huge waste of money on paperwork and legalities, all the shares will end up with the pension funds after every individual shareholder has made a miserly profit.

  • Comment number 56.

    So let me get bthis straight;

    Government give me bank shares - hurrah!
    I can't sell them yet - booooo!
    I can sell them when the exceed the government acquisition price - hurrah!
    I can't keep all the sale value - boooooo!
    I can keep the profit - hurrah!
    I give the government their stake - booooo!


    There's one reason and one reason alone why this has been suggested. I've consistently harped on that the value would need to be at least double the acquisition value or the government to sell at a profit because of the volume of shares hitting the streets when issues were sold. This way they're passed to private ownership without sale, the value drops but not as much as wholesale issues would induce and they're drip fed into the market when they exceed the acquisition price not needing to double in value because the private owners take the hit. Very very clever, the population become dealers, genius!!

  • Comment number 57.

    Does no-one remember that Osborne proposed something similar before the last election?
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1252633/Tories-sell-cut-price-shares-state-owned-banks.html
    At the time, St Vince of Cable said: "Dangling this prospect, when UKFI has said it will take at least five years before the likes of RBS are back in private hands, is Tory electioneering at its most cynical.
    "The nationalised and semi-nationalised banks should be reprivatised when the conditions are right to maximise tax payer return. Selling shares off at a discounted rate will not achieve this."
    I wonder how Vince will view the idea now it is coming from a Lib-Dem?

  • Comment number 58.

    What is wrong with these people?

    We already own the bloody shares
    What we want our parliamentarians to do use the shareholder rights and the regulatory rights they have to clean up the mess.
    In RBS the mess lies in about £800 billions of assets and liabilities denominated in foreign currencies. If the assets go bad then the whole thing can still come crashing down.

    So sort it out and stop coming out with this kind of garbage.

  • Comment number 59.

    48. At 10:57am on 7th Mar 2011, yam yzf wrote:

    "24. At 10:12am on 7th Mar 2011, writingsonthewall wrote:

    "Crisis mark II coming to a bank near you soon. I'm off to buy gold coins today in preparation (especially as my last lot of gold has added nearly 30% in value since I bought it - and it's real, I can touch it - it's not some promise from an ETF)"

    30. At 10:20am on 7th Mar 2011, writingsonthewall wrote:

    "Typical capitalist thinking - it's all about the money. This is your achillies heel I'm afraid."

    So the monetary value of gold going up is not capitalist as WOTW owns some, but other peoples thoughts are typical capitalist thinking as it is about the money.

    I spy, with my little eye, something beginning with C. And it ends with ontradiction

    Oh, hang on, capitalism is a contradiction
    Hang on, WOTW is buynig gold for himself, not all of us

    Hes' clearly a capitalist :-)"

    Capitalists, capitalists - always looking for contradictions in others and cannot see the GIANT ONE SITTING IN FRONT OF THEIR FACE!

    Those of you with the intelligence will have worked out that Gold is not rising in value - paper currency is falling in value. Writingsonthewall is not interested in 'making paper money' as the Capitalist can only see - but writingsonthewall is making sure he has something of physicial value to trade in order to get a boat out of here when the paper money collapses.

    had writingsonthewall been a capitalist he would have invested in an ETF - or Gold companies to make a profit of paper money. As it is writingsonthewall is keeping his gold safely in his house.

    You have to laugh at the capitalists - they think they can jsutify their system by spotting contradictions elsewhere - but all the do is show their lack of understanding of the concepts of 'value' and 'money' and 'price' and 'worth'.

    You stick with your paper money and your paper profits - writingonthewall is well prepared for a collapse in the gold price - he would keep the gold if this happened - this is because it's not been bought for profit - but for insurance.

    Had you bothered to read any of my posts in the past then you would know this - in fact didn't you once try to argue that a jetski was more use than an off-road scrambler and passage on a boat when I proposed what I would trade my gold in for?

    Consistency is a glorious thing to fall back on - shame you are unable to take advantage.

  • Comment number 60.

    #49 LfH

    Great minds etc.

    Clearly we are both wrong in our reading though :-)

  • Comment number 61.

    It might have some merit, but it's a somewhat flawed idea is to allocate shares according to the voters roll. Or have we forgotten how inaccurate and open to abuse that particular register was in the last election?

    Perhaps the verious fraudsters that registered multiple names at one address will be the ultimate beneficiaries of this exercise. Maybe I should ensure that at the earliest opportunity my cat, dog, and teddy bear all get registered.

  • Comment number 62.

    Anyone interested in Gerald Celente may also find Mike Ruppert's views interesting. He also predicted the crash as far back as 2005.

  • Comment number 63.

    Is it April Fools Day already in your household Robert?

  • Comment number 64.

    44. At 10:46am on 7th Mar 2011, Lindsay_from_Hendon wrote:

    "- I note that you ignored this bit:

    "So, as ever, you should maintain a diversified portfolio of multiple asset classes, including stocks, bonds, cash, and real-estate. If the stock portion of that portfolio has inflated massively in the past two years, however, you might want to consider rebalancing."

    I ignored nothing - what does that mean? - the basics of investment spreading your risk? - it's no more significant than accountants pretending to be in Switzerland when actually they're in Milton Keynes.

    "You are overweight in gold, you should rebalance - take profits!"

    Capitalist chit chat - 'take profits, take profits' - why aren't you busy 'buying the dips' in the stock market like a good baaaaa baaaaa?

    "Still I'm not sure why you are investing in gold,"

    ...and you never will, because 1) I'm not investing, I'm insuring and 2) You don't know that every FIAT currency system EVER - IN HISTORY - has FAILED.

    The lack of your understanding is of little concern to me - I mean I have tried to put it in simple terms but your 'comedic defense' of everything you don't like the sound of always prevents you understanding.

    "you won't need money in your circular cities of the future! I watached Zeitgeist Moving Forward over the weekend, please tell me it's a parody."

    ....watched - and yet not understood - I think that just about sums up your life really.

  • Comment number 65.

    49. At 11:05am on 7th Mar 2011, Lindsay_from_Hendon wrote:

    "30. At 10:20am on 7th Mar 2011, writingsonthewall wrote:
    Typical capitalist thinking - it's all about the money. This is your achillies heel I'm afraid.

    - WOTW is against making a profit/gain. Hang on:

    24. At 10:12am on 7th Mar 2011, writingsonthewall wrote:
    Crisis mark II coming to a bank near you soon. I'm off to buy gold coins today in preparation (especially as my last lot of gold has added nearly 30% in value since I bought it - and it's real, I can touch it - it's not some promise from an ETF)

    - WOTW brags about making a 30% return on gold coins (gold coins! The markup on them is criminal, why don't you buy gold bars old bean?). Nice to know that you support the idea of making money through speculation."

    The presence of a profit is merely to engage the simple minds of capitalists - as I have said above, 'my golds not for selling' - but as yamyzf has hown capitalists cannot understand this - so I have to talk about profit.

    ....and clearly as a accountant you're not much cop either - there is no CGT on coins (as it's currency) but there is on the sale of bullion / bars.

    Did you no know that? - not that it matters anyway - the reason I bought coins is because they're easier to conceal and carry - and of course they are effectively a 'smaller demonation' - which will be quite useful when you have to 'overpay' a giant gold bar for a turnip because change from gold is quite tricky!

    You see unlike you - I have considered the future, please don't assume I am like you (woke up one morning thought about the world ending).

    Come on, I know it's dreary in Milton Keynes but instead of daydreaming about living in Switzerland - how considering something slightly more useful.

    However I must thank you both (yamyzf) for this morning you have shown how a capitalist cannot help thinking of everything in pounds, shillings and pence!

  • Comment number 66.

    60. At 11:25am on 7th Mar 2011, yam yzf wrote:

    "#49 LfH

    Great minds etc."

    I think that says it all.

    Do you know what else thinks alike? - SHEEP - baaa baaa baaa baaaa

  • Comment number 67.

    35.

    Sounds wonderful ... but life doesn't work like this (you read too much of Robert Peston's drivel). Taking your comments :

    "Your basic mistake is to assume governments have their own money. They don't - they just borrow money on behalf of their people." - academically speaking you are right; in practice, the borrower is the government and that's where the buck stops. The debt is owed by the entity that borrows, not 'the people'. This isn't Lloyds of London (of old) where there was a direct link between uncovered liabilties and the underwriters.

    "Therefore, returning the £1,000 of shares to the people, balances out the £1,000 of extra debt per person that the government borrowed for us when they bailed out the banks." - yes and the government would still owe that debt with no corresponding asset to cover that debt (basic finance you will agree)

    "Essentially then, we will all feel richer when we get the shares but in reality we will just be getting our own money back." - you never put any money in directly, the government did by borrowing in the financial markets. The fact that taxes have had to go up is an indirect linkage. What you get back for paying taxes is street lighting, healthcare, other government services, etc. The government is not your stockbroker ...

    "We will still be left with £1,000 of extra government debt to repay but the grand in our pocket will help us afford the increased taxes needed for the government to service the remaining debt." - see above: there is no direct linkage, from a sources and uses of funds, between incremental taxation and the debt taken on by the government for funding the banks' bail out. Plus if you are happy to see your government stay indebted and give shares away for free, then watch the value of Sterling go through the floor (no more Spanish holidays chum)

    "In my view, its a great idea as it will make the banks far more accountable to public wishes." - Never saw an AGM attended by 60m shareholders ... you should get better accountability from UKFI than you would from multiple shareholders with 2,000 shares each ...

    Some additional observations:

    * The admin costs incurred with this daft idea are not insignificant
    * As a holder of shares you will not see a dividend for a long time
    * There is no way of allocating shares fairly - ie how do you decide who's tax revenues were used to bail out the banks (ie as said before, there is no direct link between the tax revenues and the bail out of the banks). Every tax payer, whether personal or corporate, British or foreign, could lay a claim to having their revenues (mis-)used for bailing out the banks.

    In a nuthsell, this is a noddy idea which appeals to people who don't understand or can't be bothered to understand the detail and the reality of (government) finance.

  • Comment number 68.

    59. At 11:23am on 7th Mar 2011, writingsonthewall wrote:
    Capitalists, capitalists - always looking for contradictions in others and cannot see the GIANT ONE SITTING IN FRONT OF THEIR FACE!

    - Are you saying that capitalists' noses are contradictions? Could you explain how my nose is a contradiction please?

  • Comment number 69.

    59. At 11:23am on 7th Mar 2011, writingsonthewall wrote:

    "Those of you with the intelligence will have worked out that Gold is not rising in value - paper currency is falling in value. Writingsonthewall is not interested in 'making paper money' as the Capitalist can only see - but writingsonthewall is making sure he has something of physicial value to trade in order to get a boat out of here when the paper money collapses."

    the remark "especially as my last lot of gold has added nearly 30% in value since I bought it - and it's real, I can touch it", therefore, is incorrect. Either you are talking about increase in monetary value or the fact that your gold has magically increased its volume by 30%

    "had writingsonthewall been a capitalist he would have invested in an ETF - or Gold companies to make a profit of paper money. As it is writingsonthewall is keeping his gold safely in his house."

    Yes, so he is hoarding gold for his own benefit, not anyone elses, so clearly capitalist thinking. Hmm, one could almost say it is a form of greed

    "You have to laugh at the capitalists - they think they can jsutify their system by spotting contradictions elsewhere - but all the do is show their lack of understanding of the concepts of 'value' and 'money' and 'price' and 'worth'."

    And you have shown this in your remarks above? I think you have got a little confused yourself

    "You stick with your paper money and your paper profits - writingonthewall is well prepared for a collapse in the gold price - he would keep the gold if this happened - this is because it's not been bought for profit - but for insurance."

    For all to benefit, or just yourself?

    "but writingsonthewall is making sure he has something of physicial value to trade in order to get a boat out of here when the paper money collapses."

    Ahh, the selfish capitalist part again

    "Had you bothered to read any of my posts in the past then you would know this - in fact didn't you once try to argue that a jetski was more use than an off-road scrambler and passage on a boat when I proposed what I would trade my gold in for?"

    Not sure how that is relevant, but clearly that is because I am deemed non intelligent :)

    "Consistency is a glorious thing to fall back on - shame you are unable to take advantage."

    And the consistency has been where exactly. for clearly I am going blind here for I see only contradiction. Or is it that your contradiction is a different form of contradiction :)

    Meanwhile and back on topic, what about taxpayers who are under the age of 18? How come they would not get any shares?

    But at least some are thinking about problem solving rather than just shouting that we are all doomed

  • Comment number 70.

    Excellent idea! Think of the volume of administration required. That would give work to all those public servants losing their jobs due to cut-backs, and the cut-backs are due to bank bail outs.
    That's why coins are round.

  • Comment number 71.

    43. At 10:43am on 7th Mar 2011, yam yzf wrote:

    "15. At 09:50am on 7th Mar 2011, John_from_Hendon

    No.
    "

    Sorry, please try thinking BEFORE you write more nonsense.

    Try to understand that the state is the people. All the state does is to fairly collect money from the people (us if you are a resident?) and pay fro the things we jointly and democratically decide we want to do. Now we (as our state) have already paid billions to acquire these shares. Sharing them out between the corporate us and the individual us does not logically count as a transfer as we already own the shares! Your nonsensical right wing agenda is vacuous and selfish in the extreme.

  • Comment number 72.

    60. At 11:25am on 7th Mar 2011, yam yzf wrote:
    #49 LfH

    Great minds etc.

    Clearly we are both wrong in our reading though :-)

    - I'm growing increasingly concerned for WOTW. He has started to speak about himself in the third person. I liked the updated Chewbacca defense: " in fact didn't you once try to argue that a jetski was more use than an off-road scrambler and passage on a boat when I proposed what I would trade my gold in for?" Why is he mentioning jetskis and off-road scramblers? It does not make any sense!

  • Comment number 73.

    As for capitalist contradictions, try this.........

    With my business partner, I supply and fit flooring for households, businesses and developers. A small business but we've held up well during hard times. In fact, we regularly engage other fitters to do some of the work for me during busy periods, paid by the job.

    Does this make me a plucky self-employed entrepreneur, giving gainful work to others, battling against the government, banks, and big business? Or am I a capitalist dog, exploiting the labour of the poor down-trodden working class?

    All answers welcome, especially from some of the more "active" posters. I dont follow dogma and relentlessly take sides in the various arguments on RP's blog, but I'm just wondering where you all feel I fit in here (not least as I was accused of being a banker not so long back!!).

  • Comment number 74.

    Er - hang on, didn't the government borrow oodles of money to bail out the banks that would otherwise have gone to the wall because they were uncreditworthy?
    And didn't the government borrow the money to buy these banks in the first place?

    If the gov gives the shares away, how will we get our money back? Ffor surely it is our money - after all, our VAT, fuel tax, etc, etc have gone up and higher education spending, for one, have been slashed in order to repay those massive borrowings.

    Public ownership isn't changng any attitudes in the banking sector so why not sell the shares to the highest bidder (in a few years - once they have recovered) and use money from the very people who got us all into this mess in the first place?

    Sounds like a plan to me - and a much better one than giving shares away.

  • Comment number 75.

    24. At 10:12am on 7th Mar 2011, writingsonthewall wrote:
    http://www.cityam.com/news-and-analysis/what-the-other-papers-say-morning-430

    "TRADERS “SHORT” DOLLAR AS CURRENCY LOSES ATTRACTION
    Hedge funds and forex dealers are betting record amounts against the dollar, reflecting a growing belief that the US currency has lost its haven appeal and that Eurozone interest rates will soon rise. As the crisis in the Middle East has worsened, the latest exchange data show that traders are selling “short” the currency. The big US fiscal deficit and concerns about the effect of rising oil prices have been blamed by some for the dollar’s slide."

    Shorting the dollar? - the safe haven currency - in a crisis???? These hedge funds are either very, very stupid - or they know what's coming next.
    ................
    This is very interesting. Helicopter Ben has been doing his best to reproduce the Weimar Inflation of the 1920s and has so far failed to deliver. But his persistence is beginning to pay off. Am I correct in saying if the dollar plummets, we will see huge rises in commodity prices, and can look forward to £3 loafs of bread, £2.50 a litre of petrol etc etc, or will this be offset by Sterling holding its value with respect to the Dollar? Certainly the rise in price of oil will effect everything, ie due to the cost of transport of goods increasing.

  • Comment number 76.

    Am I to understand that everyone gets a £1000 stake? Anyone on the electoral role? That would assume that everyone on the electoral role pays tax - the same tax that was used to bail out the banks. So people on benefits (and reduce the overall capital available for this bailout) get £1000, the same as a person who has worked, contributed and is impacted by the loss of tax take through service cuts.

    This is a loopy idea as its is put forward here albeit if rethought could work. Municipals are great as an earlier post pointed out about Barcelona FC. The issue is who should be included. The simple maths of £1000 per person is incorrect if there are parts of society not working and contributing to the tax system. Some people pay large amounts of tax and clearly contributed more to the bailout. Therefore they should be rewarded. Also business make a tax contribution. Does business get excluded from its share. Arguably business would want a stake and help the banks to take decision on lending.

  • Comment number 77.

    68. At 11:47am on 7th Mar 2011, Lindsay_from_Hendon wrote:
    59. At 11:23am on 7th Mar 2011, writingsonthewall wrote:
    Capitalists, capitalists - always looking for contradictions in others and cannot see the GIANT ONE SITTING IN FRONT OF THEIR FACE!

    - Are you saying that capitalists' noses are contradictions? Could you explain how my nose is a contradiction please?

    ..............
    I find my nose is attached to may face not sitting in front of it, but perhaps you and I are not alike in that respect.

  • Comment number 78.

    Is it just me that has noticed that they are not giving these to taxpayers? They are giving them to every person of voting age.

    That means the feckless people that I and many others already pay to keep who have never worked a day in their life will get the same benefit as someone who pays tax and has already paid and is paying to support the banks.

    I am all for getting something back from the whole Banks debacle but come on I know in this day and age of political correctness I should not be dissing the poor unfortunates who can not be bothered trying to get a job but why should my hard end tax pounds go to them.

    A better solution would be for the government to set a minimum price to sell (way above what they bought for) and use the trickle of funds to fund a tax cut to all the people who actually pay tax.

    Sounds like a party idea to try and win some votes.

  • Comment number 79.

    68. At 11:47am on 7th Mar 2011, Lindsay_from_Hendon wrote:

    " Are you saying that capitalists' noses are contradictions? Could you explain how my nose is a contradiction please?"

    Sure - if you can explain first why your nose isn't part of your face!

    What's the matter - that sort of response normally works with your usual audience? Maybe you're just punching above your weight.

  • Comment number 80.

    Sorry Robert I'm not interested. Any proposal to 'buy us off', rather than ditch this debt based monetary system is not going to wash with me. The problems will remain, and we will end up looking foolish for having bought back into the system that can only but fail.

  • Comment number 81.

    Anyone would think that the LibDems had just taken a bit of a beating in a poll, so have tried to come up with some populist nonsense (that will never happen) to try to appeal to Joe Public.

    They wouldn't actually do that, would they?

  • Comment number 82.

    69. At 11:50am on 7th Mar 2011, yam yzf wrote:

    "the remark "especially as my last lot of gold has added nearly 30% in value since I bought it - and it's real, I can touch it", therefore, is incorrect. Either you are talking about increase in monetary value or the fact that your gold has magically increased its volume by 30%"

    Did you not understand the bit about putting it into (the only) a language the capitalists can understand?

    "Yes, so he is hoarding gold for his own benefit, not anyone elses, so clearly capitalist thinking. Hmm, one could almost say it is a form of greed"

    Now we're into the madness of a capitalist argument - maybe I should buy gold and leave it on the streets? I have bought gold for a PURPOSE - there is (will be) a NEED - I have not bought it to SPECULATE.

    The capitalists are not very bright are they? got all the catchphrases but none of the substance.

    "And you have shown this in your remarks above? I think you have got a little confused yourself"

    Once again - the only confused person in this conversation is you. You have desperately tries on several occassion to find hypocriscy and contradiction in what I say (I presume because somehow that will justify the contradictions you put forth on a regular basis) - but you're really struggling.

    "For all to benefit, or just yourself?"

    What prattle is this? In order to NOT be a capitalist we must throw all our posessions into the street?
    I am happy to do that - but not for the benefit of capitalists who will 'see an opportunity' and hoover them up.
    What sort of messed up debate is this? - you're into some complicated ideological fantasy again - but you are struggling with the BASICS.

    "Ahh, the selfish capitalist part again"

    Even if you did prove that writingsonthewall was selfish (which you haven't) - what does that mean? - capitalism is a good system?

    You think you can prove a positive by disproving a negative - you need more lessons in critical thinking fella.

    "Not sure how that is relevant, but clearly that is because I am deemed non intelligent :)"

    If the cap fits...

    "And the consistency has been where exactly. for clearly I am going blind here for I see only contradiction. Or is it that your contradiction is a different form of contradiction :)"

    What contradiction? - you think that because someone insures themselves against the fall of capitalism that means they are capitalist?

    "But at least some are thinking about problem solving rather than just shouting that we are all doomed"

    Oh really - what solutions have you proposed (which aren't the same solutions already tried...and failed?)

  • Comment number 83.

    #26 Menedemus complains that not all voters pay tax.
    Not so! Even children pay tax. They pay VAT on their sweeties and toys when they spend money in the shops. And drunks pay lots of tax on their alcohol. Likewise smokers on their fags.
    If tax were the sole criteria, we'd have to hand out shares to visiting tourists, foreign students and The Queen.
    Taxes are a lot wider spread than you imagine!

  • Comment number 84.

    Not a bad idea, and interesting to see how the massive logistics could be made to work.

    But....surely as it was tax payers who balied out the Banks it should be the same tax payers who get the shares. If it's everyone on the Electoral Register then we end up giving shares to non-tax payers for something that they didn't have to stump up to support in the first place.

    So while this might upset people on benefits, in prison, or tax evaders resident in the UK, and probably contravenes their human rights, surely its only fair on the rest of us that we get the spoils and the non-taxpayers amongst us don't - or are we happy to just give them more of the public resources for nothing.

  • Comment number 85.

    #73

    An exploiter and also exploited I'm afraid. You use people when you're busy and discard them when they're not required, classic exploitation. Then you are exploited because you no doubt have to do the job at best price, i.e. your competition drives yor price down, so pay and get paid accordingly. You answered your own question in the first paragraph really.

  • Comment number 86.

    Certainly seems like a redistibution of wealth to me.

    Giving a flat amount to everyone, rather than using any surplus to reduce the nation's debt burden.

    Surely a surplus could either pay towards modernising public services; an actual investment in our future, or reducing the extent to which taxes need to increase.

    The people likely to benefit from a flat rate giveaway are probably those in the middle who aren't big users of public services and don't pay the highest amounts of tax; the key electoral demographic and so potentially appealing to politicians.

    This is basically like the governement borrowing on our behalf and giving the money back in some arbitrary fashion.

    Of course there'd have been a much bigger surplus if the governement of the day hadn't paid vastly more for the shares than they were actually worth at the time.

    (Will the break even amount be just what was paid for the holdings in the first instance or inclusive of the additional debt interest required to fund the required borrowings?)

  • Comment number 87.

    72. At 11:56am on 7th Mar 2011, Lindsay_from_Hendon wrote:

    "I'm growing increasingly concerned for WOTW."

    I don't need your concern thank you - the concern of people who are pathalogical liars isn't worth mus I'm afraid.

    "He has started to speak about himself in the third person. I liked the updated Chewbacca defense: " in fact didn't you once try to argue that a jetski was more use than an off-road scrambler and passage on a boat when I proposed what I would trade my gold in for?" Why is he mentioning jetskis and off-road scramblers? It does not make any sense!"

    had you been in that blog (which you weren't) then you might have understood - previously on Roberts blog Yamyzf asked what I would swap my gold for (because like you he cannot see hte value in Gold) - to which I replied 'an off road scrambler' - which then went on to a long conversation about 'gold and value'.

    So your lack of knowledge in this matter is showing you up - but not for the first time.

    I noticed you didn't comment on CGT on coins - you shoudl know that if you are REALLY an accountant.

  • Comment number 88.

    73. At 11:59am on 7th Mar 2011, lookingforit35

    Do you make a profit?

    If so then you need to work out where it comes from. Take away the labour force and pretend your business is fully automated - what profit would you have now (remembering all your competitiors would imitate your full automation)

    ...therein lies your answer - but I suspect you try not to think about it too much - I mean the truth always hurts.

  • Comment number 89.

    78. At 12:16pm on 7th Mar 2011, Swiss_Saint wrote:
    Is it just me that has noticed that they are not giving these to taxpayers? They are giving them to every person of voting age.

    That means the feckless people that I and many others already pay to keep who have never worked a day in their life will get the same benefit as someone who pays tax and has already paid and is paying to support the banks.

    ...................

    Are you referring to the bankers?

  • Comment number 90.

    71. At 11:55am on 7th Mar 2011, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    "Sharing them out between the corporate us and the individual us does not logically count as a transfer as we already own the shares! Your nonsensical right wing agenda is vacuous and selfish in the extreme"

    Not sure how explaining the situation as I see it could be is "nonsensical right wing agenda is vacuous and selfish in the extreme"

    We are not paying for anything under this proposal. We are returning the money spent by the Treasury in buying the shares. "vacuous and selfish" who be wanting to keep all the money ourselves. And that is what it seemed you were wanting from your post.

    Govt paid 50p per share - clearly as a result of "pay fro the things we jointly and democratically decide we want to do"
    You get "given" 1 share
    You sell for £1
    If you keep the entire £1, how will the planes for the aircraft carrier be bought? If you keep only the profit, then the original 50p may now go back into the pot to buy this perhaps.

    So the proposal of paying the original 50p back is more fair and less selfish than wanting to keep everything for oneself.

    And I am supposed to be the selfish one?


  • Comment number 91.

    77. At 12:12pm on 7th Mar 2011, Averagejoe wrote:

    "I find my nose is attached to may face not sitting in front of it, but perhaps you and I are not alike in that respect."

    Clearly the comedic defense doesn't work on your either!

    I have to admit, I had to ask a child for my reply - it's that sort of level...

  • Comment number 92.

    "If you were running Royal Bank of Scotland or Lloyds, would you welcome or hate the idea of every one of the 45m adults on the UK's electoral register having a direct shareholding in your bank?"

    Here's my hand grenade to throw into the fray. Why should non-taxpayers get any shares at all? In addition, should those who contribute more, get a larger number of shares? Is this not fair?

  • Comment number 93.

    "The nation already owns the banks, it's another example of ideological excess to re-issue ownership on a unitised basis. Must be some loot in it for some blood sucker. It also opens the floodgates for further abuse of banking privileges. What the business and finance sector fear most of all is a Government of the people going into business against their direct profit interests"

    opinion on this article:
    http://www.mindfulmoney.co.uk/3566/investing-strategy/should-uk-adults-be-given-shares-in-bailedout-banks.html

  • Comment number 94.

    As I remember, millions of people owned shares in banks previously, before they started to collapse. "Bridging the yawning gulf between banks and people" didn't seem to make any difference back then so why would it now?

    This proposal seems to be based purely on ideology. It will cost an absolute fortune to implement with no tangible benefit to our economy.

    All the money generated from selling the shares must go to the government which must then use all of it to pay down the national debt. Giving the profit to the public will simply see the majority of the money flood out of our economy to China in the form of I-pad and Laptop sales which really doesn’t help UK plc.

  • Comment number 95.

    I think instead of giving Taxpayers dividends, Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds should give all their profits back into the economy to pay the National Debt.

  • Comment number 96.

    85. At 12:35pm on 7th Mar 2011, NorthSeaHalibut wrote:
    #73

    An exploiter and also exploited I'm afraid. You use people when you're busy and discard them when they're not required, classic exploitation.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Thanks - meant respectfully. I'm not sure how this "exploitation" can be righted though. I cant afford (and in fairness have no need) to take staff onto the payroll as employees. But if I dont give work in the manner I do, then surely I couldn't bid for the jobs and this would be worse for everyone?

    I never saw myself as exploiting anyone, and the guys that do piece work for me actually do very well indeed out of it.

  • Comment number 97.

    RBS shares are of no use to me. I'd prefer the NHS not to be privatised, programmes for the homeless not to be cut etc. Spread the shares among the population and it widens the support for no bank reform. Currently the only basis for any popular support of the status quo is ignorance, and that changes. Anyway I thought that the Exchequer was going to make a whacking big profit on selling these shares?

  • Comment number 98.

    73. At 11:59am on 7th Mar 2011, lookingforit35 wrote:
    With my business partner, I supply and fit flooring for households, businesses and developers.

    - I think your argument is floored. I'll probably be carpeted for that one.

    To answer your question, you are obviously a capitalist pig dog.

  • Comment number 99.

    73. At 11:59am on 7th Mar 2011, lookingforit35 wrote:
    With my business partner, I supply and fit flooring for households, businesses and developers.

    - I think your argument is floored. I'll probably be carpeted for that one.

    To answer your question, you are obviously a capitalist pig dog.

  • Comment number 100.

    88. At 12:40pm on 7th Mar 2011, writingsonthewall wrote:
    73. At 11:59am on 7th Mar 2011, lookingforit35

    Do you make a profit?

    If so then you need to work out where it comes from. Take away the labour force and pretend your business is fully automated - what profit would you have now (remembering all your competitiors would imitate your full automation)

    ...therein lies your answer - but I suspect you try not to think about it too much - I mean the truth always hurts.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    A fully automated carpet fitter isnt something I'm aware of!! So that would really be something of an academic exercise.

    As mentioned, I could just turn work down. But what would the point of that be? Neither I nor any of the guys that do piece work would benefit at all. Or is the suggestion that I only do as much work as I can and anything else isn't morally right.

    It's a genuine question I've posed. I certainly pay a fair amount for each job, and the guys do well out of it, as do I. So what actually is ther answer - am I truly exploiting anyone by offering them work? At exactly what point do I turn from hardworking self employed working class tradesman to evil exploiter?

 

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