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About Robert Peston

Robert Peston | 09:00 UK time, Monday, 29 January 2007

Since 13 February 2006 (a date etched forever in my memory) I have been the BBC’s business editor.

Robert Peston, on the set of the Ten O'Clock NewsThe move into broadcasting was a big one for me, because for the previous 24 years I’d been a print journalist. My previous roles have included financial editor of the Financial Times, political editor of the FT and city editor of the Sunday Telegraph.

I’ve won a few awards (including Wincott Financial Journalist of the Year, and the What the Papers Say Investigative Journalist of the Year), and I’ve written a book about Gordon Brown (Brown’s Britain) which attracted a bit of attention and was described by Sir Howard Davies (the director of the London School of Economics) as being of "unusual political significance".

I’m a lifelong Arsenal supporter, not one of the monstrous regiment of Gooners-come-lately, but will try to prevent that particular affiliation from encroaching here.

Comments   Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 04:03 PM on 29 Jan 2007,
  • Rob Rockman wrote:

are you any relation to Leslie Peston?

You'r a great man in Journalism . You have a future to build and build it absolutely better for the next generation of Journalists to see and say Yes , the proffesion is superb and trully a real agenda setting spot and an eye openner for the entire world.

Many Best Wishes.

  • 3.
  • At 12:58 PM on 06 Feb 2007,
  • Philip Edwards (Mr) wrote:

Dear Mr.Peston,

Your piece about your "woes" with the new Microsoft "Vista" was good - and to the point. It's good that someone influential like yourself is complaining about such matters. Computers are frustrating enough to operate when they are working OK, but when they don't work, they can be the most frustrating of machines. I wish these programmers would produce a machine with just the basics (say give the machine just 5 fonts instead of the hundreds of fonts, styles, shapes, sizes, etc, etc that they have in them at present. I'm sure it would make the machines much easier to use, and surely would make them run their programmes that much faster too.

I hope Bill Gates listens to your (and perhaps the many others who have) complaints about Vista.

best wishes,

Mr.P.Edwards. (North Wales)
P.S. I think I'll stick with my Windows 2000!

  • 4.
  • At 10:22 AM on 14 Feb 2007,
  • Dr Nigel Mykura wrote:

Don't read much on the web but really enjoyed reading your comments. Very informative.

  • 5.
  • At 10:59 AM on 14 Feb 2007,
  • Dave Harrison wrote:

Well done for the story on the pernicious effect of H&S legislation in the UK. I personally know of 3 people who have closed their small business bacuase of the ongoing and ever increasing legislation they are forced to comply with.

I wish more people (and especially politicians) would pick up on this issue as I personally feel that it's being glossed over and is a significant threat to the UK economy

  • 6.
  • At 08:44 PM on 14 Feb 2007,
  • thomas barton wrote:

hi robert
reference todays blog when i left school in the early fifty,s i worked in a tripe dressers attached to stanley abattoir in liverpool
if the current red tape was operating then they would have never dressed anything but themselves, the resistance to a lot of today,s ills we are told can be gradually built up by being exposed to the various bugs out there, a couple of deaths by some vague infection now usually means hundreds of new goverment jobs and a raft of new red tape

  • 7.
  • At 11:28 PM on 16 Feb 2007,
  • Professor Gerald Dorfman wrote:

I am trying to contact Robert Peston to ask for his help in finding copies of his book, Brown's Britain" to adopt for my class , British Politics, in the Political Science Department at Stanford University for the coming spring quarter. I have not heard back from Short Books, publishers of the book, and think that Mr. Peston may know where I can find up to 60 copies ( the expected enrollment). Could you please ask him to contact me at the email address above, or otherwise will you please send me his email address so I can contact him directly. Either way, I need to order these books within the next two weeks in order to allow enough time for their arrival by April 3. Thank you, Professor Gerald Dorfman

  • 8.
  • At 05:48 PM on 18 Feb 2007,
  • phillip wrote:

If I feel that I have a very news worthy story what would be the best way to represent this to your desk?


  • 9.
  • At 10:24 AM on 20 Feb 2007,
  • ian underwood wrote:


i grasp the idea we are all linked to a global market.with prices/wages/taxes,where the rich get richer and the poor just,"well" die.sad fact of life you carnt save everyone,so you look after no1.everything we touch today has come from gold /oil/drugs,so wheres the news "anyone"

  • 10.
  • At 11:18 AM on 23 Feb 2007,
  • Andrew Smith wrote:

Since there's a link from the main news pages about the UK's largest private equity firm, would you mind telling us what a private equity firm is?

I'm a regular reader of the business section of the BBC news website and the owner of a small business.

According to research published on the small business service website, small business accounts for nearly 60% of employment in the UK.

I hope that I am not alone here, but would it be fair to ask for more news content that is relevant to small business in the UK?


  • 12.
  • At 04:24 PM on 02 Mar 2007,
  • Gina V.P. wrote:

Today,my comment will be an ordinary one, but after having a look of all problems around the world, global warming,etc,etc.sometimes an ordinary comment can make us happy for a while, so.....
MR.PESTON,YOU LOOK SO HANDSOME ON THIS PAGE!!!!!!! I´m from México, and I congratulate BBC NEWS to make this Business edition so atractive!Why just men have to look pretty faces at the news????!!!!! Now it´s nice to read about business!!Kind regards!

  • 13.
  • At 11:37 AM on 12 Mar 2007,
  • gerard brown wrote:

I think the growth of an ever wealthy and removed unaccoutable uber class is really quite frightening and flies in the face of everything modern social economics and progressive capitalism has strived to achieve in the past hundred years.
Private Equity is in the vanguard of this issue - more a question of public inequity - it should be actively resisted.

  • 14.
  • At 01:16 PM on 12 Mar 2007,
  • pip.lewis wrote:

This is the only blog I now bother to read regularly - excellent. Pip

  • 15.
  • At 12:20 AM on 15 Mar 2007,
  • Jim Sweet wrote:

Hi Robert,

You're not the son of Morris Peston are you? He was my head of department at QMC and a pal of my dad's...


Jim Sweet

  • 16.
  • At 11:52 PM on 19 Mar 2007,
  • Sam wrote:


Thanks for keeping us informed and educated. For me, you are doing great since this happens to be one of my best blogs. Keep up the good work!

Best wishes,


  • 17.
  • At 11:19 AM on 26 Mar 2007,
  • Bob George wrote:

Dear Robert,
I'm pleased to have found you. I'm glad that someone is complaining about Vista. I have given up. I have a new laptop that I can't connect to the internet with because it has Vista. So I have to use this old machine as it does at least get on line. There are patches which the new PC won't accept; there is an incompatability with wires and so wireless only( which the structure of my home won't support). I feel a bit of a gooner for spending all that money on a new PC and my wife thinks I have robbed her of grub money in buying it. Still, life could be worse; I could be an Rsenal supporter or still be called Robert. And sometimes I am!

  • 18.
  • At 11:30 AM on 26 Mar 2007,
  • John Austen wrote:

Get yourself an Apple Mac. Cool, sexy, no viruses.

  • 19.
  • At 12:38 PM on 26 Mar 2007,
  • Geoff Flight wrote:

Your blog entry regarding your Vista experience was very interesting. I assume you must be using Outlook 2003 but are you sure the 2007 version won't ask for passwords each time you check for e-mails? If it does this would make AutoSync useless.

  • 20.
  • At 04:07 PM on 26 Mar 2007,
  • Wendy wrote:

To all PC Vista users.

You should have bought a Mac!!

I love mine, it has only crashed 3 times in 2 years, it produces fantastic digital videos, and photos and my kids can even produce their own music.

It's relatively safe as it has been largely ignored by virus writers.

Actually, maybe you lot should stick with your problem PC's, if too many people get Mac's then they'll become more attractive to virus people, who, given enough time could probably find a way in!

Vista seems to be a rip-off of the Mac operating system anyway. The original is usually better than the copy.


  • 21.
  • At 04:57 PM on 26 Mar 2007,
  • Martin Peston wrote:

Dear Robert,
You'll be glad to know that there is another Author in the family..Me!
Not politics, but popular astronomy...

Keep up the great work I always enjoy reading your comments on the beeb website.

Best Wishes

  • 22.
  • At 05:07 AM on 27 Mar 2007,
  • Anthony wrote:

I would just like to say, how much I enjoy your column, tis a pity that you are an Arsenal supporter, at least it shows you have human failings.

  • 23.
  • At 01:58 PM on 27 Mar 2007,
  • Phil V wrote:

I am sure you a fine individual but why are all these posts praising you to the skies but all negative ones are removed?
Smacks of the Not the Nine O'clock News sketch about Points of View - "I would galdly sell my home and all of it's contents to help pay for the BBC".
Do you encourage negative comments as much as you and the BBC negatively comment about all other aspects of the establishment?

  • 24.
  • At 05:58 PM on 23 Apr 2007,
  • Karen Jones wrote:

Re ABN Takover - I note you with a number of other commentators talk about TCI being a major shareholder. IT IS NOT. It holds around 1% of ABN. IT is just a squeaky wheel. Please ensure facts are correct and dont repeat the spin

Are you Maurice Peston's son? - ex Professor of the Economics Department at QMC - if so he taught me between 1969 - 1972 along with David Sullivan (part owner Birmingham City FC and pornography baron and Peter Hain, Labour Front Bench)

  • 26.
  • At 01:01 PM on 03 Jul 2007,
  • fuller wrote:

Saga and AA enjoy zero tax bill. You seem to have some business background. You will know that a wide spectre of people invest in the Market and pension funds invest our pension money in FTSE shares. Why did you choose to exclude this in your news item? I know from experience that any comments that are not 'left of centre' are not approved for publication on the BBCs HYS, maybe you have to tow the pro-North Korea line as well.

  • 27.
  • At 01:53 PM on 05 Jul 2007,
  • Warren wrote:

Why do you hate Private Equity firms so much?

  • 28.
  • At 07:24 PM on 18 Jul 2007,
  • Thomas wrote:

I don't know much about you. However i have read some of your reports on companies and i think sometimes your very one sided. Like sainsbury's as you don't like the company you want everyone else to think that.

I just knew you today from reading
"Where's Branson's Apology?" umm..

  • 30.
  • At 07:54 PM on 12 Sep 2007,
  • Geoff Berry wrote:


Your articles are excellent, the worst are very good and as a layman learning to try to protect my financial future they are educational.

There are many, many excellent contributions to your 'comments' but why is there an ongoing obsession of contributors trying to explain the detail of contemporary daily events?

The historical cause of a problem and the manipulation of the future effects are fascinating but not written about very often. Is that how the arty-crafty city works, that is, in a different way to cause and effect or are science concepts not understood or ignored?

  • 31.
  • At 12:18 AM on 14 Sep 2007,
  • SC wrote:

Quote "I’ve won a few awards (including Wincott Financial Journalist of the Year, and the What the Papers Say Investigative Journalist of the Year), and I’ve written a book about Gordon Brown (Brown’s Britain) which attracted a bit of attention and was described by Sir Howard Davies (the director of the London School of Economics) as being of "unusual political significance". end quote

WOW - you are really, really great - well done - hope you feel really, really great about all the really, really great accolades that you posted here - well done. You must be feeling great about it all.

  • 32.
  • At 12:19 AM on 14 Sep 2007,
  • George Venning wrote:

It isn't strictly a comment but it is something I would like to know. In all the recent credit turmoil, a great deal has been said about the fact that nobody knows quite where all this bad mortgage debt is and it is explained that this is why people are panicking but very little is being said about the actual size of the hole this bad debt might represent.

The most recent figures I have seen suggest that the US as a whole saw 900,000 foreclosures in the 1st half of 2007 and that the year's total could top 2million. Assuming an average loan size of $100,000, that makes $200billion worth of foreclosures, a pretty sizeable sum. However, the money is not a dead loss. The loans were secured against properties whose value may have risen since the loan was contracted (even if it has fallen in the last six months though even now the market is less than 10% down on its peak). If we therefore assume that, in any foreclosure, the bank loses only 20% of the loan amount then we are down at £40billion in write offs for the whole of the US mortgage market this year.

Bear in mind also, the fact that these "exotic" CLO products were bundled up in a way which already reflected an estimate of the typical risk of default (even based on historic data) and the write offs are reduced again. Since the whole point of CLOs was that the risk of default was priced in and spread around, normal sub prime delinquency rates(or at least, delinquency rates for the last coupe of years) should have been allowed for when the yield of the CLO was determined.

Delinquency rates in the sub-prime market have certainly risen in the last year by perhaps 60% but even assuming that they have tripled then at least a third of these foreclosures would have been priced in - so reduce the $40billion by another third. Yes, $27 billion in unforeseen losses is a lot of money but it isn't as much as all that and far more than the total value of the bad debt seems already to have been wiped of the value of global shares. In fact, by my estimate, the quantity of money already injected into the market by central banks trying to calm things down already exceeds the likely level of losses.

This is back of a fag packet stuff, it could be wrong by a factor of two or three but not by much more than that surely?

  • 33.
  • At 10:14 AM on 14 Sep 2007,
  • SSG wrote:

Liked your piece about Northern Rock today - concise yet informative. I do hope you ignore the sniping of SC above - I have just read your bio and thought it a good mix of information, modesty and personality.

  • 34.
  • At 02:07 PM on 14 Sep 2007,
  • J Agnew wrote:

Mr Preston,

As a university student with a relatively limited knowledge of the financial world to date I have found that your 'Picks' have been incredibly interesting and have helped to clarify the current situation concerning the global banking crisis.

To a certain extent Britain and the other leading economies are entering un-chartered waters with respect to the possible consequences of the financial instruments that have been used by banks such as SIVs and CDOs, especially those associated with the American sub-prime market. As you have reiterated, the current situation has come hand in hand with the temporary end to large Private Equity transactions and the Hedge-fund industry. It seems to me that unless a serious overhaul of the financial system and/or changes to Banking Law are made, it is likely that we will see a repeat of the current situation on a worse scale. However because the British economy has become largely dependant on the success of Banking/the financial sector any such changes will thus have a considerable effect on our economy-hence it is likely to be opposed by Westminster and the ex-Chancellor.

I was just wondering your views on whether different governments should monitor more closely the ways in which money is made in the financial industry? Specifically with financial instruments such as SIVs and hedge funds where colossal amounts of money are prone to risk that ultimately cannot be accurately measured; only 'approximated by the PhD mathematician and a computer'. The current crisis has illustrated that the algorithms within many investment vehicles and specifically hedges seem not to have taken into consideration/evaluated correctly/ignored certain factors, the consequences of which will be felt by almost everyone. As ‘Liars Loans’ illustrated, the potential for promoting fraudulent activity within certain stages of the debt-investment market also seems like another reason for governments to regulate the ways in which debt is converted into assets. For a country like Britain which is so dependant on the wealth of the City and financial system within her economy it seems foolish bordering on madness for the government to stay in the dark surrounding the methods by which large amounts of money are raised.

Does anyone really know the intricate workings of the hedge-fund?

  • 35.
  • At 10:35 AM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • Julie Butler wrote:

Mr. Preston,

Given the recent panic with Northern Rock, we took out a loan with Northern Rock in February this year. What would happen is Northern Rock went bust, would our loan be taken over by another loan company and would it be subject to higher rates of interest should the new loan company's rates be higher than Northern Rock's?


  • 36.
  • At 11:14 AM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • Harry Web wrote:

I would just like to say that you may wish to reflect on your own role in Northern Rocks troubles. If you hadn't waded in with your 'exclusive' it may not have become the huge headline news it is now. I detected some glee in your early reports - . A huge panic started on the Thursday and Friday, which probably was unnecessary. You played some part in that panic. Events may have been different, if Northern Rock had been able to choose when the news broke.

In the financial services market the two well publicised scandals that have been unearthed to date are the mis-selling of pensions and the mis-selling of endowments.

This has resulted in many millions of pounds being returned to individuals by the Banks and other lenders.

The next scandal hitting the Financial Services market is the mis-selling and misadministration of mortgages and other loans particularly in the UK sub-prime sector.

The size of these repayments will dwarf those of the pensions and endowment scandals.

  • 38.
  • At 01:33 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • Bob wrote:

It's a curious fact that some of those people who are now withdrawing funds from Northern Rock may well decide to place the money in a safer place like Gilts or National Savings bonds. Of course as the Government and the Bank of England actually have no money of their own where will their money finish up? Quite probably as part of the B O E's draw down facility for use by Northern Rock. In the end, it's all the same money.

  • 39.
  • At 07:40 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • Harvey wrote:

Over this weekend ive been reading some silly arguments about how this whole credit crisis has arisen... the one that appears to be gathering momentum is that banks have not been lending because they dont trust or dont know what is on the balance sheets of other banks... tho that may be partly true, it is very much a secondary factor.... the main reason banks are not lending term (3M) money is because they dont know what assets are going to be dumped back on their balance sheets over the next few weeks. There are rules regarding liquidity so the present uncertainty is making banks horde cash just to be safe... it is NOT so much that banks dont trust each other. Personally, I think the BoE has handled this very very badly and the recent jabs at the US sub-prime market are just outright rediculus (and from someone so senior in the government at that!)... all the US sub-prime mortgage market has done is to make us focus on the real problem which is that of the leverage, the lack of transparency in recent financial 'instruments' (CDOs etc), and the use of off balance sheet entities.

  • 40.
  • At 11:57 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • Peter Ridgley wrote:

Good articles, written in a vernacular that is easy to understand. But I very much regret and dislike your frequent use of the expression "as of" used in such phrases as "as of yesterday", "as of last month" for example.
Why do you do that?
There are much better proper English language expressions for these terrible
At least replace the "As of" with "As at"
Peter Ridgley

  • 41.
  • At 05:11 PM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • Jazz wrote:


Over time i have come to regard Robert Peston's reporting very highly. I always found it clear and nonsence free. However his behaviour over the last few days with regard to the issues at Northern Rock has made me seriously question his (and the BBC's) integrity. You have undoubtedly made this situation far worse than it should have been with scaremongering reporting.

The BBC hasn't reported the news here, it has engineered it. I hope Robert and his cronies at the BBC can sleep easily knowing that they have put the livelihoods of so many at risk. Then again what do a few thousand jobs in the North east matter as long as you get the scoop.

  • 42.
  • At 05:26 PM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • L Court wrote:

I have just got online to NR, after trying periodically since the early hours of Friday am and taken all my savings out of silver saver 6.3%

Your blog and the comments from others in the same situation as me on the BBC website have been very helpful, in a situation where you can feel very alone

I'm not happy to have joined the 'lemmings', believing that for political reasons alone, G Brown and A Darling could not let ordinary savers be seen weeping on the streets! But despite all the reassurances from the Bank, A Darling and FSA I feel a great sense of relief now that my cash is in my current account with LLoyds TSB. I will now take some time to decide where to put it, albeit probably at a lower rate of interest

At the moment I think confidence as well as cash is king!

  • 43.
  • At 01:15 PM on 17 Sep 2007,
  • K McDonnell wrote:

Has anyone from the BBC asked Northern Rock if they have throttled back or in some other way restricetd access to online accounts? I have been trying to get to my account for a few hours now. My attempts to sign on are not being met with a "you are in a queue" message, as one would get with a phone call or as would be obvious standing in a line outside a Northern Rock office. My attempts to sign on get the follwing response....

Unfortunately, the system is currently very busy.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused and ask that you try again later.

Thank you for your patience in this matter.

The gating factor in telephonic access or branch office access is the need for human intervention to complete a transaction or enquiry. There is no Northern Rock employee intervention required in online transactions or enquiries - this is why online services are attractive to companies. Having worked in the IT industry for 30 years I know that the gating factor in online access is server power and/or network bandwidth. If Northern Rock truly wants us to have access to our money online why have they not taken the simple step of beefing up their server(s)and/or network bandwidth.

I feel that Northern Rock are limiting customers' access to accounts where ever they can.
This is just one more attractive attribute of online banking to this industry. Access can be cut off or left at a trickle rate quite easily while apearing to be helpful to customers.

  • 44.
  • At 01:22 PM on 18 Sep 2007,
  • Rob Mullan wrote:

I wonder if L Court (see above) has realised that his money is at far greater risk of fraudulent removal in a current account than it would be in a savings account. I suggest he at least moves the bulk of it into a Lloyds TSB savings account.

Why is our ability to assess risk so woeful?

  • 45.
  • At 04:12 PM on 18 Sep 2007,
  • Liz wrote:


Like K McDonnell at No 43, I have been trying over the last 5 days to access my online account since Friday 14th but to no avail. On attempting to sign in I am merely greeted with the words: "Sorry the page you are looking for cannot be found." I just keep thinking, like Harry Web at No 36 and Jazz at No 41 how Robert's "exclusive" created such havoc, the like of which has never been felt in modern Britain. Did I possibly detect the wrath of onlookers whilst broadcasting your report on TV last night ....?

  • 46.
  • At 05:45 PM on 18 Sep 2007,
  • sore feet wrote:

How about a post on the Compensation Scheme and the FSA Licence - a guide for depositers (post NR) and in the light of the amount of money that is one the move

1) How come the people we talk to as depositers trying to invest money extracted from NR don't actually know which companies are covered by the FSA Licence for their institution? I've encountered two examples in the last 24 hours

2) Why aren't all financial institutions accepting deposits required to display the FSA licence - in a prominent place in their branches and on their websites - and make it very clear which other companies are included so depositers can avoid inadvertently exceeding the £35k limit for the FSA compensation scheme. Check the websites of various banks and financial institutions and see how 'easy' it is to find the information. My experience is it's mostly absent.

I wonder how many NR depositers are moving excess cash on deposit to places where they will again exceed the compensation scheme limit.......but without realising?

Dear Robert,

As Mr L Court at no. 42 has high regard for your reporting, and is thankful for alerting him to NRK's "woes", would you be so kind as to explain to him the relative risks of investing in Lloyds TSB vs NRK with its gilt-edged guarantee?

Many thanks.

  • 48.
  • At 10:56 PM on 18 Sep 2007,
  • Mr Jones wrote:

Why do you think it was acceptable to cause a pass panic and risk over 6,000 jobs when with your Financial background you knew exactly the limited implications of Northern Rocks actions?

The BBC are no longer welcome in the North East.

  • 49.
  • At 10:50 AM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • Dave wrote:

Qoute from Robert preston's blog:

Robert Peston 19 Sep 07, 08:03 AM

"What happened at Northern Rock, the first run on a British bank in living memory, has caused deep shame and embarrassment in the banking industry.

It is not the sort of thing that is supposed to happen here.

Senior bankers are livid and looking for someone to blame."

Does anyone at the BBC wish to share responsibility for this panic? Surely if I, a mere member of Joe Public, can understand that the 'crisis' was a short term liquidity problem, then a top business journalist could. No one was in danger of losing money from deposits, which has been made clear since the headlines on our screens, yet shareholders have lost money needlessly and jobs are likely to be lost also, across the whole sector.

In reports on the BBC I have seen the words like 'Rock Bailed Out', 'Fiasco’, that any intelligent reporter would realise would cause panic and fear. Who sanctioned the sexing up of THIS dossier?

Regardless of how NR funded their future loans, it didn't deserve this, it did no more than many other banks, though maybe on a larger percentage of turnover.

  • 50.
  • At 03:53 PM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • Keith Mackie wrote:

Congratulations, Mr. Peston.
As an Ausssie settled here some seven years ago, I remain convinced your articles are amongst the fariest and most balanced it is possible to find in the UK media. Normally, that would not be more than a back-handed compliment, because the Fleet Street press (our Rupert's otherwise umenployable hacks?) have been notorious for generations as a bunch of clowns without a proper circus of teir own ( the McCann sago for instance....spare us all from more 'unnamed sources close to the police....close to SweetFanny Adams is more like the fact) , who have made a joke of the freedom of speech we (allegedly? try REALLY testring it...hope you're rich!) enjoy.
As far as Merve King goes....he's the bees knees to me, a good and moral man doing his difficult job brilliantly, under great duress from a load of self-piteous sharks and out and out liars from the banking industry, and a nebulous crew of survivalist slightly left of centre (which is now 20 miles to the right anyway !) so called political statesmen without an original idea between them. Being here reminds me so much of Oz... all huff and puff and bull dust. To Mr. King's and MR Peston's eternal credit, they fight the good fight opposing this. Which will be fine, until they upset the applecart of the powers that be more than is 'permissible'. Paranoiia? No way. There are rulers.....they're called banks....and they can bail themselves out using their vast profits of former years. Northern Rock is being 'scapegoated' so as to be carved up later. My grandad was a Geordie...not hard to guess why he left, is it? You arrive here and are greeted by road signage nonexistent anywhere else in the world: 'The North' ...'The South'....what is it? a civil war zone like the slavery etc one in Uncle Sam?
'UNITED Kingdom'...what a euphemism..what a lie. It'd be funny if twere not so very true !

  • 51.
  • At 07:13 PM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • Leigh Bowden wrote:

Nice articles about Northern Rock Robert but I do have a question.

NR was effectively bailed out by the BoE. Doesn't this now put it at loggerheads with people who have lost pension savings when a company who has gone bust?

  • 52.
  • At 02:25 PM on 20 Sep 2007,
  • Gordon wrote:

Just a thought Robert, you seem to be very supportive of the banks' position in this affair. Shouldn't a journalist relfect public opinion as demonstrated in the replies to your own blog and be more supportive of the BoE/critical of the banks and their use of the debt objects at the heart of this affair?

  • 53.
  • At 04:35 PM on 22 Sep 2007,
  • David Pratt wrote:

Robert - I do wish you would look at the camera more when you appear on the news programmes. It is always interesting to hear what you have to say, but PLEASE look at the camera rather than look at the news presenter. While giving your spiel please remember that there are millions of us on this side of the camera to whom you should be addressing.

Please do not be offended by this; it is meant to be a constructive criticism.

  • 54.
  • At 09:45 AM on 23 Sep 2007,
  • Peter Walker wrote:

Please read and take to heart the observations in Friday's Times2 by Damian Whitworth. I endorse his comments, which I trust you will regard as constructive.

Robert, questions for you:

1. wouldn't it be better if BBC news used log charts for share prices throughout its web site?

2. Could we see some educational material about the money supply from the BBC? So few of the population understand it but so many of us are affected by inflation and asset prices.

  • 56.
  • At 03:17 PM on 23 Sep 2007,
  • Esther wrote:

Hi Robert,

Please don't be offended but.....unfortunately, I can't understand what you are saying on TV most of the time, even though I am a native English speaker. I think it would help if you accentuated significant words, instead of words that happen to give you a rhythm and so presumably help you to keep talking. Also, it would probably help if you took more time to breath between sentences. I find that listening to your reports is more like listening to a rapper (!), but am sure it would be easy for you change this so that even more people can benefit from your comments.

best regards

Robert, questions for you:

1. wouldn't it be better if BBC news used log charts for share prices throughout its web site?

2. Could we see some educational material about the money supply from the BBC? So few of the population understand it but so many of us are affected by inflation and asset prices.

  • 58.
  • At 05:14 PM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Mario wrote:

Not content with causing mass panic with Northern Rock savers and a run on the bank, we now have unsubstanciated reports about the dividend not being paid.

As Northern Rock have not made any such announcement, and the only source quoted in the BBC report is Mr Peston, would he confirm where he obtained this information?

  • 59.
  • At 12:56 PM on 02 Oct 2007,
  • Tony Bryer wrote:

Could you take time to write a piece explaining why the Dow Jones has suddenly decided to motor upwards, given all the bad news coming from the USA on mortgages and housing with the inevitable effect on consumer confidence? I would like to think I have some understanding of these things but this has me puzzled.

  • 60.
  • At 11:04 AM on 03 Oct 2007,
  • Chris wrote:

How very strange that I should consider posting an entry on this weblog on the subject of your unfortunate presenting style, when low and behold I find EXACTLY the sentiment I wish to impart - see Esther's entry No 56 dated 23/9. I honestly believe that the accentuation of certain, inappropriate words is becoming more pronounced, with the more appearances you are making on our TV screens. The problem was particularly accute during your comments on the NR issue. I can only assume this stems from a professional excitement for an opportunity to influence a developing crisis. Shame on you! Your writing remains excellent - please reflect on these comments. There really is no need to compete with Evan Davies - who also has a 'non-BBC' presenting style.

  • 61.
  • At 12:56 PM on 04 Oct 2007,
  • Jacques Cartier wrote:

We had stories in the business media a few weeks ago about a credit crunch, yet (when it all died down), the share prices went higher and the world is still turning.

So it looks like a few bad debts stateside can't change the world picture after all, and the bulls have won a titanic tussle against the bears this summer. So now is it safe? Or is there still something else hiding around the corner?

  • 62.
  • At 09:17 PM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • robin bennett wrote:

In your piece on the BBC Ten OClock News on 5th October I thought I heard you say that you were "afraid that" Barclays had been "unfortunately" defeated in their bid for ABN Amro. Does this mean you are intending to exhibit sympathy for RBS shareholders?

  • 63.
  • At 10:25 PM on 16 Oct 2007,
  • Peter Turner wrote:

just heard your report on the 10 o'clock news - i think you and the BBC are naive if you think the reporting on this has been fair and unbiased. It has become a sensationalist story driven by the BBCs apparent need to drive news stories rather like the so called gutter press. I am constantly disappointed by the standard of news coverage on the BBC and this has become the last straw - I urge other readers to try ITV, Sky or C4 where there is less 'dumbing down' and less bias in reporting. My faith in the BBC has been shattered over the last few years - this is just another nail in the coffin.

  • 64.
  • At 04:29 PM on 18 Oct 2007,
  • Geoff Berry wrote:

Robert, stick with it.

A free press means also the abilty to write opinion as well as facts in the way the writer wishes and be free to take the praise or in the NR story the hits.

'Nihil Illigitimus Carborundum', never let the bastards grind you down. (Being of humble working class origin Latin never interupted my education).

When NR recovers and legislation is introduced that prevents a similar situation happening again, then all the words thrown at you will be history and you will have done your job.

  • 65.
  • At 06:14 PM on 19 Oct 2007,
  • Nicholas Barrett wrote:

A quick heads up for you. It appears that next week Northern Rock are going to be releasing some figures as to how many of their borrowers are on payment holidays with respect to their mortgages.

Lets just say that the figures won't be very re-assuring for Gordon.

  • 66.
  • At 06:50 AM on 02 Nov 2007,
  • Alan Norris wrote:

With regards to Northern Rock, Why has the Government guaranteed a total sum of 40 billion pounds, yes 40 billion pounds, to a private business, that is currently only worth £800 million pounds??

  • 67.
  • At 08:47 AM on 05 Nov 2007,
  • D Robinson wrote:

I'm now in the habit of looking for your commentary in the wake of this sub-prime lending fiasco. I know I can rely on it for intelligent, plain-speaking explanation.

  • 68.
  • At 11:35 AM on 13 Nov 2007,
  • Ryan Kogelheide wrote:

I like your commentary. You look like the right person to ask this question. Why did it take so long for the media to notice the sub-prime problem? If I look back my email, the first I noticed a problem was in Nov.'06, and I'm a total neophyte in the world of finances. People as savvy as you probably saw it before then, but didn't say anything. What happened? It seems to me that the business media needs to do a serious post-mortem on this.

  • 69.
  • At 06:10 PM on 13 Nov 2007,
  • simon draper wrote:

Hi robert,


I have watched you mention about Barclays,Northern Rock amongst others recently but in my inbox tonight I had an email from EGG trumpeting that they are part of CITIGROUP.

Should I be worried as I have a significant amount of money in Egg given the BILLIONS that Citgroup have had to write off in the USA.

  • 70.
  • At 05:16 PM on 19 Nov 2007,
  • Nigel Blake wrote:

Robert, Could you please comment on the threat to the security of the Marconi Pension Fund (see BBC "Your Money" Friday 16th Nov 2007 "Marconi pensions 'threat' blocked")? While the action of the trustees and the Regulator is somewhat reassuring with regard to the Escrow amount, I remain concerned that the Pensions Corporation is still at liberty to put the £2.5bn fund at risk. I am nearing retirement and (along with 62,000 other fund members) expect to rely on this pension for my main income. In your opinion, are sufficient safeguards in place?

  • 71.
  • At 05:16 PM on 19 Nov 2007,
  • Gareth wrote:

I'm a shareholder, and I live near the Head Office.

I haven't heard any discussion in the media about why the following wouldn't help the current liquidity problems.....

Simply increase the standard variable rate for mortgages up to 10% or higher so that those people no longer on fixed deals paid a lot more, or moved to other lenders. If the former, it would at least be a rate higher than the "punative" BofE emergency loan rate. If they moved it would bring the amount of loans made back down towards the level of savings deposits.

Please could someone explain to me why this hasn't been done yet? Even if it didn't go all the way to solving the problem it would surely help.

Gareth Jones

  • 72.
  • At 07:15 PM on 19 Nov 2007,
  • Tash Campbell wrote:

I am also now in the habit of looking for your commentary on all things financial. I listened to Radio 4 this morning and I understood everything you said about Northern Rock. Plain and simple for all listens to understand.

  • 73.
  • At 08:44 PM on 19 Nov 2007,
  • steven wrote:


Never followed blogs before. However, I am finding it excellent journalism and am glued to your blogs; Darling and Brown caught on a hook, and continue to give you excellent food for blogging. Keep up the inside commentary so people are properly informed of how government fails to reflect the will of the people.


  • 74.
  • At 02:21 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • David Clough wrote:

Where is all this funding from the Bank Of England actually coming from? I find it hard to believe the government have an account sitting there with a balance running into the billions of pounds on it?

  • 75.
  • At 08:15 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • Peter Hawkes wrote:

It would be wonderful to have some more factual information on Northern Rock about borrowers. How many; what economoc status; what changes in number/profile; any reasons why their ability to continue paying has changed. If liitle change then one would have to suspect that the bidders see an opportunity to put pressure on the government to accept too little money. But why oh why can't we have some serious investigation and factual ananlysis?

  • 76.
  • At 03:25 PM on 24 Nov 2007,
  • Frank J wrote:

Comments from a Canadian. Interesting article on Carlyle. You need to do an expose of the Carlyle Group. Very few of your commentators seemed to know anything about them and the people who belong to this private equity firm. With assets of over $25US billion to play with, and entrenched in Defence contracts throughout the world, journalists everywhere need to keep an eye on them.

  • 77.
  • At 11:40 AM on 26 Nov 2007,
  • Chris Burke wrote:

Whilst I much admire much of Robert Peston's reporting, particularly on the Northern Rock fiasco, I am becoming increasingly annoyed by Robert repeatedly banging on about the risks of the housing market going into recession. Yes this is certainly a risk that could affect much of the economy - not just Northern Rock - but it is a big IF and the likelihood is that a moderate slowdown, which now appears to be happening, is the more likely outturn. What we certainly don't want to do is to talk ourselves into recession - I think there is a saying along the lines of 'if you state something often enough it will become the perceived truth' - please Robert, and I appreciate this might not suit those who script the Headlines, perhap a more balanced view might be more helpful?

  • 78.
  • At 09:23 PM on 29 Nov 2007,
  • Mark Nash wrote:

Dear Mr Peston

I enjoy your comments and anlayses when I hear you speaking on Radio 4 (ususally Today or PM) and Radio 5 (Drive). However, may I ask politely if you could edit your "speeches" down a little - at times I walk away from the radio or turn it off during your involvement because I feel you overcook your contribution. That's it really! Otherwise, please keep up the excellent work you do.


Mark Nash

  • 79.
  • At 06:13 PM on 30 Nov 2007,
  • mike wrote:

Northern Rock...

Peston now you are getting boring...
lets have a new (news) story!

I think you may have flogged that (not yet dead) horse nearly enough...

  • 80.
  • At 03:44 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • Keith Telford wrote:

Mr Peston.. I am disgusted with your reporting of the Northern Rock situation where you are visibly delighted with its demise and problems... do you have some agenda here?

Further, you are reported to be in favour of the nationlaisation of NRK, this would seriously damage the labour vote in the NE... labour suicide - are you seroius!

  • 81.
  • At 03:46 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • Robert Miller wrote:

Surely the best course of action would be for Nothern Rock to go into administration. The shareholders would get very little or nothing but the viable parts of the business could then be sold and the treasury (tax payers) would get their money back sooner. If the bidder were from overseas it would have less effect on our capital markets.

  • 82.
  • At 12:57 PM on 06 Dec 2007,
  • edward wrote:

Peston...this is bollocks..

"At a time when the rates charged by banks for lending to each other is hitting record levels, this inflow of deposits represents cheap money."

spreads maybe at record levels the interest rates are not so many % points from record low levels

Please, if you are going to be a pain in the arse, be a pain in the arse in a factually accurate manner.

  • 83.
  • At 11:42 AM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Dovletgeldi Tahirov wrote:

Dear Mr. Robert Peston.

I've read your interview with Nicholas Stern. I know the idea and conclusion of the interview, they're recognizable to me by my former scientific work. The situation's not so hopeless. The situation can be mended by small expenses and in a short period of time.

In my opinion this problem should be solved in the nearest 5-10 years, and such opportunities mankind, due to achievements of science and technology at rational use of resources, has


Independent expert, D. Tahirov

  • 84.
  • At 12:08 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Dovletgeldi Tahirov wrote:

Dear Mr. Robert Peston.

I've read your interview with Nicholas Stern. I know the idea and conclusion of the interview, they're recognizable to me by my former scientific work. The situation's not so hopeless. The situation can be mended by small expenses and in a short period of time.

In my opinion this problem should be solved in the nearest 5-10 years, and such opportunities mankind, due to achievements of science and technology at rational use of resources, has


Independent expert, D. Tahirov

  • 85.
  • At 12:32 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Andy Wright wrote:

Have you done a sanity check on the numbers in the Sub-Prime credit crisis? Do we have any base data such as - number of people defaulting, average cost of house, percentage loss per transaction, etc, etc. If so are there any simple sanity checks that add up and do we have a clear idea of how this builds up to $400 billion? Try doing this for the US economy and see what numbers you get to.

Or is this just the Banks writing down all their poor performing loans at once? Or is this just another huge tax fiddle for the banks?


  • 86.
  • At 12:49 PM on 17 Dec 2007,
  • Michael Simpson wrote:

I have just been reading that Norwich Union has been fined £1.63m for not looking after customers' financial data properly.

On this basis the HMRC fine will be about £50bn for the two lost discs.

Who will get this do you think?

  • 87.
  • At 09:58 AM on 18 Dec 2007,
  • Ray Donnelly wrote:

Mr Peston
You really are a doom and gloom merchant. Surely you have a responsiblity to provide objective reporting ie a balance. Looking at your reports this is simply not the case and people who have a more simplistic view on money matters can easily make the wrong choice. I would urge anyone thinking of taking your advice to seek the help of an IFA.

  • 88.
  • At 11:07 AM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Patrick Shaw wrote:


what will actually happen if Northern Rock is nationalised; in particular at what price, if any, will the government buy the shares?


  • 89.
  • At 09:27 PM on 10 Jan 2008,
  • mark wrote:

enjoy your blogging but what about interest rates and the fed chairmans comments today, thurs 10.01.07

  • 90.
  • At 06:29 PM on 17 Jan 2008,
  • Antonio wrote:

24 hours of no reponses to your blog - has the system broken down ????

  • 91.
  • At 09:03 AM on 18 Jan 2008,
  • Adam Swainson wrote:

Dear Robert,

Very much enjoy your commentary, and you keep telling it as it is.

Let all those who accuse you of being gloomy keep swallowing the fatuously saccarine tablets offered by their political masters.

10 years of spending todays money and tomorrows money like there was no tomorow.

Well tomorrow has arrived.

  • 92.
  • At 08:30 PM on 18 Jan 2008,
  • Rupert Knapman wrote:

Re the current volatile stock markets.
I heared about a prediction of an international stock market crash a few years ago made by a very far-sighted man living in the Asian community of London by the name of Maitreya.
He made this prediction in the late 1980's saying that this crash would begin in Japan. At the time the Nikkei index stood at a lofty 40,000 points. Shortly thereafter it began its long fall to its present position.
I first heard about Maitreya - including this prediction - in 1997, immediately before the Asian Tigers crashed followed by Russia, Brazil and Argentina.
Now it is apparently our turn.
This may not be such a bad thing as according to Maitreya all the current tensions in the World stem from the inequalities that exist between the so called First and Third Worlds. This is caused by our economic system exemplified by the stock markets, " the gambling casinos of the World" as Maitreya calls them.
Humanity is one group and therefore the worlds resources belong to all. If we were to think of mankind as one person 3 quarters would be emaciated and one quarter would be obese. Not a very healthy condition.
Maitreya says that this crash will cause a reordering of priorities, sufficiency taking the place of greed. He goes on to say that if we were to carry on as now the tensions inherent in this system would lead down a very dark road.
So when you report on the falling markets it might not be such a bad news story after all. On the contrary it may be a great blessing in disguise.
for more see

  • 93.
  • At 11:17 PM on 18 Jan 2008,
  • Jonathan Munt wrote:


I continue to wonder whether journalist's such as yourself are fueling the prolonged credit crunch phenomenon.

Your ongoing assault on Northern Rock is another example of one sided reporting from the BBC and its journalists...

FYI....all Banks are borrowing from their respective Central Banks, are they all in trouble? are we going to see a wave of nationalised banks around the globe? of course not!


  • 94.
  • At 02:48 PM on 19 Jan 2008,
  • Reg wrote:

With regard to the Grand Plan for Northern Rock.

Who in their right mind would go anywhere near bonds issued by a lending institution known laughingly as the Northern Crock?

Brown and his Darling must be off their rockers!

  • 95.
  • At 10:11 AM on 20 Jan 2008,
  • Anna Syme wrote:

I too have heard of Maitreya. He has predicted the crash of the stock-markets since 1988, and perhaps now it is happening. He also says that humanity needs to learn to share the resources of the world equitably. Once this occurs humanity's future is assured and will be wonderful indeed. So if this stock market crash causes us to reorder our priorities and we create a just world, then it's all for the best.

  • 96.
  • At 12:36 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • James Whiteside wrote:

I would support Peter Hawkes' request (Comment 75) for more detailed specific analysis on the Northern Rock saga. Having been involved in regular discussions on the subject of the N.R.demise it is patently obvious that the "man in the street" has little or no understanding of the real issues, the "mechanics" or the implications of this crisis.
For example, why did NR require the tax payer's £25bn. To meet maturing loans from the money markets maybe? Why would those lenders not "roll-over" the loans? Are NR's current cash requirements being met by new money market lenders? Has the tax payer's £25bn already been exhausted by maturing loans and if new lenders are reluctant to come to the party at interest rates that NR can live with then how deep is the current hole in the NR Balance Sheet?
There is clearly room for hours of discussion here but please let it be factual and informative and not speculative.

  • 97.
  • At 11:45 AM on 22 Jan 2008,
  • James Condron wrote:

Mr Peston,

As much as I like your brown tie with multi coloured spots on it, don't you think that wearing it every time you appear on television is a tad over the top? There are many more equally excellent ties on the market that you may like to consider.

  • 98.
  • At 01:01 PM on 22 Jan 2008,
  • Chaz wrote:

(Comments 95 & 92)

Bloke predicts stockmarkets will crash at some point in the future shocker.

That some insight right there.

Bet that needed the super powerful tarrot cards to work that one out.

  • 99.
  • At 05:32 PM on 22 Jan 2008,
  • Hussein Jiwani wrote:

In my opinion as a Real Estate Agent, the Feds need "buy down" or subsidise the interest rates that are hurting homeowners. If an individuals interest rate shoots up to 10%, the feds should buy down the rate to 6% so that that homeowner is able to make his payments and continue owning the home; in this case, the condition should be that this home owner stays current in his/her mortgage payment for 2 years and then can get into a fixed rate at a rate of the market.
The situation is that lenders are not willing to help hurting the most. They need to be less greedy and work with the homeowners stuck with higher interest rates.

  • 100.
  • At 04:09 PM on 24 Jan 2008,
  • Paul Gilbert wrote:

When the optimist is wrong they are pilloried (Lamont's Green shoots of recovery)but when the pessimist is wrong nobody cares. Is that the premise you work on? I have never read such permenently pessimistic views.

  • 101.
  • At 06:54 PM on 24 Jan 2008,
  • David Levan wrote:

I look forward to your clear and perceptive analysis on the BBC but why oh why do you have to be interviewed by the newsreader? Why not just do your piece to camera, like the sports reporter, for example? I'm sure you know what we, the public, would like to know without having to be prompted. The weather expert isn't asked to explain the significance of a cold front or a north-westerly blast! He or she manages to get the message across unaided and I'm sure you could too! And don't fret about your delivery. It's refreshingly straitforward and non-patronising with staccato bursts of fact and opinion punctuated with dramatic pauses. It certainly holds my attention. Keep it up!

  • 102.
  • At 10:36 AM on 25 Jan 2008,
  • Nick Scott wrote:

I think that the time is right for the BBC to have a new 30 min programme format that goes to the heart of issues such as the financial credit crisis and the EU Treaty and explodes the cant and hipocrisy expounded by our politicians. It is impossible to explore the issues properly in a 30-45sec piece for radio however brilliant the reporter is. Why, for example, has no one explained what has happened to the US sub prime properties that have been re possessed? Who benefits financially,from the sale ?

  • 103.
  • At 02:44 PM on 25 Jan 2008,
  • Peter Drapkin wrote:

The attached web link accurately places the current debt crisis at $3trillion. (In US terms is $3,000,000,000,000).

Easily 10 times greater than current US or UK official estimates.

(This figure comes from The Hat Trick letter, produced by Jim Willie referenced on the link below).

Mr Peston may find the figures quoted worth seriously investigating and commenting on.

  • 104.
  • At 07:06 PM on 26 Jan 2008,
  • Glasgow Celt wrote:


  • 105.
  • At 01:27 PM on 27 Jan 2008,
  • Tony de Nordwall wrote:

Dear Mr Preston, I should be most grateful if you could shed some light on the following. If the banks have lost so much money then who has gained it, and what have they done with it? Has it not ended up back in another bank account?

regards Tony de Nordwall

  • 106.
  • At 10:39 PM on 27 Jan 2008,
  • Nick Simms wrote:

There is something about the SocGen situation I don't understand. Given that Mr Kravier was trading CAC and DAX Equity Derivatives and that such positions have to be marked to market every day, didn't someone in SocGen notice the extra £1bn in margin that must have had to have been posted during the week commencing 14 January (i.e. the week before the positions were unwound)? Someone must have authorised this money to be transferred and it must have come from somewhere (e.g. been borrowed). Or are we seriously to believe that the money was transferred automatically and no-one in risk management, treasury, ect noticed?

I like the content of your economics stories but find your presentation on Radio 4 distinctly annoying - any chance of copying Maggie and havng some elocution lessons? - its all the errrrrrr, then speedy bits of sentence followed by odd long emphases on unimportant words - and this does distract from the otherwise excellent journalism...
it would enhance the career move to broadcasting methinks...

  • 108.
  • At 08:42 PM on 30 Jan 2008,
  • Hank wrote:

107: I completely agree. Robert, all due respect because you are clearly an excellent print journo, but I find it very difficult to listen to you on the radio.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE consider getting some speech training.

  • 109.
  • At 06:24 PM on 31 Jan 2008,
  • John wrote:


I read your comments daily and enjoy your views on the state of the financial markets and companies.
The US has reduced interest rates and are ringing forth measures to ensure that they avoid ression.
What are Brown Darling and King doing about the UK ecconomy??? Brown must take the blame for the state of UK PLC as he was chancellor and he was instrumnetal in all the red tape and tax hikes?? Can these 3 wise men now not see that UK PLC is like a sinking ship we have had problem after problem and there seems No will to resolve the issues.
We need the feel good factor, all we see every day is doom and gloom.
Why can they not just look after the UK and not waste time and money on International affairs?? The taxes that they collect are paid by UK working citizens and that revenue should be spent in making the quality of life better in the UK. Why do we have the England Scotland devide where health care and eductaion are at diffrent levels in Scotland to England?? No Uni fees in Scotland??? Better care homes???
Do the right thing and get the ecconomy right reduce taxes and make the life of UK better. Make people happy and they will spend work harder and enjoy life. I just paid my tax and it was an elephants ransome, what do I get in return I dont use the NHS, I pay for my kids to go to UNI??
Life is not a dress rehersal and the sooner that Brown relises that the better. It may be time to see just how popular Brown is with the country and call an election. If he had confidence then he would do that.

Time now to look after UK PLC and get this great country back in shape, and finding little ways to increase taxes is not the answer.

Northern Rock, why should the tax payers prop up this ailing company, now Darling anounced that the BOE can secretly lend to other banks in trouble, is that another way of saying they know of more trouble out there???
You should have let NR go to the wall and spent the 40Billion on making life better for all in the UK reduce tax on fuel? We are paying the highest price in the world for Fuel and most of that is tax.

Time to wake up before it all goes pear shaped, well it has gone.

  • 110.
  • At 01:22 PM on 04 Feb 2008,
  • Dick Jenkins wrote:

I have watched the debacle unfold of "what to do with the Northern Rock?" and it seems that the harder the government try to come up with a solution, the more difficult their position gets.

Isn't the best way to resolve this to stop all new lending, to guarantee the wholesale and retail funding of the Rock (as indeed the Government have done) and simply to get the loan made by the British taxpayer repaid as redemptions of the mortgage book naturally arise (billions of pounds per year). When the company comes back into a position where the balance of assets and liabilities is restored to that of a normal mortgage bank, then the range of solutions becomes much greater.

The British Taxpayer should be paid a premium for offering the Northern Rock this special facility, and you could always hasten mortgage redemptions by jacking up the SVR to the Rock's borrowers a little. (harsh, perhaps but it would be effective, as people will be incentivised to re-mortgage away from the Rock)

In other words, the Government should do less to find a "clever" solution and let the obvious solution take its course.

Why isn't this being done? I fear it's because the Governement feel the need to be seen to be "doing Something"

  • 111.
  • At 04:53 PM on 04 Feb 2008,
  • John Blake wrote:

Re Comments 107 and 108.
Errrrr, ummmmm, any , erm, progress ON this, erm, front?

  • 112.
  • At 05:29 PM on 04 Feb 2008,
  • DAVID SHEIL wrote:

Been listening to your various reports on radio throughout the day-and I have to say your, shall we say, more recently adopted(?) ' slightly easier on the ear' presentation style is much more pleasing.

I really dont mean to be offensive- but in the past, you did come across a little over excited and overly zealous in explaining things to us as though we were all kindergardeners..a mannerism which belied your incisive journalism.
Keep it up and well done!

  • 113.
  • At 09:01 AM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Norma Wheeler wrote:

can you tell me who (on radio4?)warned about the US'credit crunch'as long ago as (roughly)October 2006. it may have been on Moneyboxlive but as the interviewee was so sure, I emailed my son with that warning.If you are able to give a name from whichever programme it was, I would be interested. Thankyou; ps my inbox probably wont allow a reply there, and as a OAP I am not alltogether very clever in altering it!

  • 114.
  • At 11:52 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Neil Campbell wrote:

Dear Mr. Peston

Do you read the posts at the bottom of the page? Even the 114th post? It seems an awful long way down.

Many thanks,


  • 115.
  • At 02:45 PM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • claire feehily wrote:

I've just listened to an absurd discussion on 'Feedback' about your broadcasting skills and felt compelled to contact you.
Generally I am critical of the BBC's coverage of economics - TV News and Newsnight have become almost unwatchable. Immaculately presented nonsense I'm afraid.
However, I find your radio work in particular to be excellent.
It provides one of the few places where serious analysis and reflection upon economics can be found.
It was a shame that Feedback gave so much room to style over content.

Regards CF

  • 116.
  • At 02:50 PM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • Elizabeth McLoughlin wrote:

I'm not a regular blogger but this is the only way I have been able to get in touch with you. Am prompted to do so at this minute just having listened to Feedback on radio4. I am a regular Radio 4 listener and that is where I hear you and have learned so much. Have to say - can understand you better now! Your ' training ' as your editor spoke about on feedback to-day is paying off. Remember - what you tell us about can be complicated and most of us are on a big learning curve. So don't hurry along quite so much!But Congrats! You have made me more informed on a lot. One BIG favour. My husband and I have for YEARS been greatly troubled about the effects of PFI's on the nations finances. No one ever mentions this. These debts are not on the books. Never mind The Rock and recently Metronet - what about these £ billions of debt? Please give us a homily and expose more of Mr Brown's misdeeds over the 10 ( ? ) glorious years at No 11

  • 117.
  • At 10:39 AM on 13 Feb 2008,
  • Jonathan Bliss wrote:

Dear Mr Peston

Were the Basel II Accords a causal factor in the subprime lending debacle? I understand they made banking capital ratios more flexible, and so may have encouraged risker lending. If so, do you think central bankers will reconsider the Accords? Or was the main problem the way the securitised assets were valued?

Best wishes


  • 118.
  • At 01:08 PM on 13 Feb 2008,
  • Danny Brierley wrote:

If the cost of bank-to-bank borrowing is going up at a time when global interest rates are going down doesn't this means that, whilst those more vulnerable to the sub-prime down-turn may loose out, this will be to the further profit of other banks? Could it be that the credit crunch is bad for some banks but highly profitable for others?

The nationalisation of Northern Rock's marks the end of 'Crash' a work of art created after the bank originally crashed. A 'drawing' dictated by NRK share prices 'Crash' is now complete.

  • 120.
  • At 10:49 PM on 18 Feb 2008,
  • Donovan Kelly wrote:

Treasury cannot be allowed to rob Rock investors

For all its travails, Northern Rock in public ownership will, like a public limited company, have to publish audited accounts. Alistair Darling, chancellor of the exchequer, has said the UK mortgage lender will return to the private sector in due course. Suppose that, when the last set of accounts before its reprivatisation appears, these show that the loan from the state (originally from the Bank of England but now presumably to be assumed by the Treasury) is repaid in full at a market interest rate or above.

Suppose, in other words, that Northern Rock repays the loan on the same terms as billions of transactions on the sterling interbank market. The economic substance of the loan to Northern Rock would be difficult to distinguish from such loans, except that – at least in the early stages when it took the form of a lender-of-last-resort loan from the Bank of England – it was at a penalty rate (ie above market rates).

Should the proceeds from the reprivatisation of Northern Rock belong to the government or the original shareholders? That is the key question.

Mr Darling has made clear he does not intend to compensate shareholders at anywhere near the book value of the bank’s capital, which was about £2bn (or £4 a share) in mid-2007 and must still be above £1.5bn. The plan – if the government’s behaviour can be dignified with the word – seems to be that the shareholders are to get nothing.

The proceeds from the reprivatisation (presumably a few years from now) may be deemed to belong to the government. If so, would the government have robbed the shareholders of £1.5bn-£2bn? Mr Darling has no doubt been told by advisers that the government’s approach is legally valid. But the shareholders can also recruit advisers to demonstrate that it is legally invalid and morally outrageous. Their central point will be that, in a nation proud of its respect for the rule of law, the government would have violated principles of private property.

Mr Darling and his advisers would no doubt say this is preposterous. They must think again. They ought, for example, to listen to the senior executives in the British banking industry who nine months ago took it for granted that the Bank of England was their bank, from which they could obtain cash in much the same way as commercial banks in other countries. Those executives have been dismayed that in recent weeks Spanish banks have been able to obtain finance easily from the European Central Bank (but actually from the Bank of Spain) on collateral that the Bank of England has questioned.

These Spanish banks have in many respects the same business model as Northern Rock; in autumn 2007 they faced the same difficulty in financing their assets. But they have not been punished by the Spanish authorities as Northern Rock has been punished by the UK authorities and the government. The Spanish government has not threatened to nationalise them, in spite of the huge advances they have received from the ECB.

The one correct point in the argument for nationalising Northern Rock was that the value of its assets, and hence its continued solvency, depended on the Bank of England loan. If Northern Rock had been forced last September to dispose of its assets as quickly as its depositors were withdrawing cash, those assets would have been sold at far less than their true value in normal circumstances and Northern Rock would have gone bust.

But central banks exist for the purpose of preventing runs or, at any rate, ensuring that runs are met by ­lender-of-last-resort loans so the hurried liquidation of assets can be avoided. That is what is meant by the proposition, repeated in hundreds of textbooks, that “the central bank is lender of last resort to the banking system”.

Western governments have deplored the Russian state’s expropriation of privately owned oil companies. What the British government has done with Northern Rock – by falsely representing a business transaction at market rates or above as “state aid”, encouraging a frenzy of hostile and largely silly press comment, cajoling the management and shareholders, and finally imposing a compulsory nationalisation without compensation – bears comparison with President Vladimir Putin’s devices to steal assets in the former Soviet Union.

If Northern Rock does repay its loan from the state in full but its shareholders receive nothing, the British government’s actions would amount to robbery under the law.

By Tim Congdon

The writer, an economist and author, holds shares in Northern Rock

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2008

  • 121.
  • At 12:54 AM on 20 Feb 2008,
  • colin wrote:

You are a lifelong Arsenal fan and do not intend to let it affect your journalism?

I have only read two of your pieces here; one involves Barclays (Premier league that you have'nt won for a while), the other Northern Rock (Newcastle United - nobble the opposition by killing their sponsor)

Never was a truer word spoken by Bill Shankly!!

  • 122.
  • At 03:38 PM on 20 Feb 2008,
  • Simon Stephenson wrote:

House price 'threat' to economy

This is an article published today reporting the comments of Kate Barker, a member of the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England

I, and I'm sure many others, would welcome a critical appraisal of the arguments made in Ms Barker's statement. It seems to me that there is an unwarranted slant in the statement that takes as a foregone conclusion that a reduction in house prices is something that is BAD for the economy. And that therefore one of the priorities of the MPC is to take action to reduce the likelihood of this happening.

There are some of out here who regard the speculative boom in house prices as the major thing that is BAD about the economy, and who see a correction in house prices to an economic level as being the fundamental challenge for the financial establishment over the immediate future.

I'd suggest that there is little chance of the economy making any substantial progress until the distortion of nonsensical house prices has been eradicated.

How about a provocative article about these ideas? Or is this an anti-establishment step too far for the BBC?

Methinks that Mr Congdon (cited by Mr Kelly in post No. 120) doth protest too much! NR's problem was that it could not pay its debts (its short term borrowings) as they fell due, because no other bank (except BoE) would lend to it. Inability to pay your debts as they fall due is the test for insolvency.

At that point, NR could have gone into shareholder's voluntary liquidation and the shareholders could have taken their chances as last in line once all other creditors had been paid. However, they and the directors wanted the taxpayer (i.e. the rest of us) to help them out with more and more in the way of loans for an indefinite period that NR might never be able to pay back.

Shareholders expect to keep profits in good times. Taxpayers are under no obligation to underwrite their poor decisions in the bad. Mr Congdon took a risk that turned out badly. Doubtless we are all sorry for him but he should have known what he was doing.

The market value of NR's shares immediately before nationalisation was about £0.90 each but that price reflected "hope" value that a rescue would materialise. Why should the taxpayer pay £4 a share? Mr Congdon should look to the stewardship of NR's directors to vent his wrath.

  • 124.
  • At 04:11 PM on 26 Feb 2008,
  • Gerry Hagon wrote:

Hello Robert,

The US National Debt is fast approaching $10 trillion. This will be achieved some time next year if the current rate of Budget Deficit ($1.6 billion per day) is maintained.

Why is no one discussing it? I can remember in the Clinton years much debate as to the costs of some of his reforms for education, health, etc., being far too expensive to allow for its impact on the Budget Deficit. In fact his whole term in office was influenced by it and his reform programme went out of the window because of it.

However the problems he had to face were miniscule compared to the current ones. In the last seven years the National Debt has increased by $4 trillion and no one takes a blind bit of notice of it.....including the BBC I might add.

So why?

  • 125.
  • At 02:50 PM on 27 Feb 2008,
  • doug wrote:

Robert, you have not yet commented on the similarities to Morgan Stanley's emerging market debt bonds in 1995. Same thing, toxic debt, wrapped by a bank that then imploded. Plus ca change...and well documented in FIASCO (" a nasty little book" - Howard Davies).

  • 126.
  • At 06:10 PM on 28 Feb 2008,
  • Adam Ward wrote:

In the article:

regarding further US rate cuts, we read of Mr Bernanke :-

"Although he said inflation remained a worry, it is expected to go down as high energy and commodity prices recede."

Yet, in another article, on $102 oil, we read :-
"The US dollar weakened against the euro and the economic data also indicated that inflation in the US rose in January,"
"Commodities are generally considered a hedge against inflation. We are therefore seeing these strong prices that have really little to do with oil market fundamentals."

So really, there's no way these prices will recede as long as Bernanke is keeping rates down and devaluing the dollar.

Isn't the truth that a controlled inflation is policy?

So, given that the Fed stopped releasing money growth figures, isn't American policy to inflate away their debts and so commit a gross theft from other dollar holding nations, particularly China?

How about an article exploring the ramifications of this?

  • 127.
  • At 02:42 PM on 02 Mar 2008,
  • Graham Grimshaw wrote:

"Who runs Britain" is a brilliant must read.

it's my bible.....

Robert thanks again!

  • 128.
  • At 12:10 PM on 12 Mar 2008,
  • Chris wrote:


I think perhaps you are the only person to give me a non-biased educated opinion.

I have some savings in a large bank, would it be wise to transfer it to a building society just on the off chance?

Or is it all potentially at risk and would it be better under my bed for the forseeable?

I'm not too bothered about small differences in interest rate my savings aren't huge!? Central Banks can't keep bailing out banks - can they!?

Any help is appreciated!

  • 129.
  • At 10:49 AM on 13 Mar 2008,
  • Ed barham wrote:

Can i ask you write something about Morrisons.
I am not a socialist at any stretch, indeed a true capitalist at heart.
However, i think the Morrisons example shows that the constant clamour from investors for quick returns can damage business.
Today we see Morrisons announce a good increase in profits, after some poor years following the safeway takeover.
Investors sometimes need to understand that it takes time to get things right.
Link this in to a store chain with no shareholders - John Lewis - without interference this group continues to do well delivering good bonuses for employees while paying tax to the government.
Linking this back to investors, the credit crunch and what caused it - dodgy mortgages and AIV (alternative investmnent vehicles) shows there is no quick money to be made. Is it now time we focussed more on building a business, investing for the long term and getting city slickers to understand this.
I remember seeing Mr. Dyson speak a few years ago. When he wanted to start his business, he was refused a bank loan a few times as the return timeline was too risky.
A Pizza parlour ws given loan as the return was quicker.
Surely we need to get this right in the UK.
Long term good, short term bad.

  • 130.
  • At 03:17 PM on 14 Mar 2008,
  • Peter A Forbes wrote:

How about the people (like us) who have savings with the big banks (Halifax in our own case) who are getting 0.75% interest on a £10K deposit!!

Halifax Liquid Gold Account pays 0.75% gross, which is pretty cr*ppy compared with what is currently available in the market, and is a LOT less than we used to get years ago.


  • 131.
  • At 02:59 PM on 16 Mar 2008,
  • Louis Turner wrote:

I wonder if you could do a piece sometime on what this unfolding crisis is telling us about the quality of regulation in the different parts of the world?

I realise that no regulators even started to get to grips with the full dangers of the securitization (slice and dice) phenomenon - though I'm interested if the rules- or principle-based regimes seem to be handling the aftermath better (probably too soon to tell).

What really sticks in my craw is that this crisis was triggered by the sub-prime crisis which is so close (though not identical) to the Savings and Loans Crisis of the late 1980s. In both cases, loose regulation led to massive over-selling to fools and crooks in the US property sector. How the hell did they let that sector get out of control for a second time?

I'll be interested to see if our mortgage scene is hiding equivalent madness, but I sense if probably doesn't. Northern Rock may have had a ropy financing model, but it doesn't seem to have been criminally over-selling to marginal punters (true?)as was happening in the US.

If I'm right, and if we come through with some moderate property price falls but no massive mortgage defaults, I would argue that the British principle-based regulation will deserve some credit. (People selling mortgages have instinctively known that there are limits beyond which they shouldn't go - whereas, in the US, it seems to have been a case of if a punter could sign their name, that was all that was required).

Anyway, we'll see how everything works out over the next 12 months. The US and UK have many of the same structural problems. If the Brits come through more smoothly, then different regulatory institutions and philosophy will probably be making the difference.

  • 132.
  • At 08:29 AM on 17 Mar 2008,
  • Chris wrote:

I have some savings in a large international bank - would these be safer or at less risk in a building society or is every financial institution at risk?

I don't understand the differences and need some advice from a true impartial expert!

  • 133.
  • At 09:40 AM on 17 Mar 2008,
  • Simon wrote:

I am a relative newcomer to the world of blogs and I am afraid that some of them are little more than wordy advertisements for their self-opinionated authors. But the best blogs - this one, for example, and Nick Robinson's - serve the important task of getting inside the news with a bit more opinion and explanation than the bare front page story permits. Keep on with it! Without this blog Northern Rock and all the rest would not make so much sense to me.

  • 134.
  • At 12:50 PM on 17 Mar 2008,
  • Joe Wilson wrote:

Robert Preston,

Just heard from colleague at HBoS that the commercial bank is to stop lending and the asset finance division will re-deployed to specialist deposits. Have you heard anything?

  • 135.
  • At 11:57 AM on 20 Mar 2008,
  • Andrew B wrote:

When central banks agree to bail out the commercial banks, do they do so at penal rates of interest (like credit cards)? That way it saves a collapse but the bankers, who are paid a fortune anyway, will see a reduction in company profits and hence in their bonuses, so they might behave more responsibly in future. It's the only language these people understand!

  • 136.
  • At 12:46 PM on 20 Mar 2008,
  • Stuart wrote:

You will have noticed the current viral scam that Threshers are putting out claiming to be giving 40% discount on wine. Its not actually real, in that it is up to the discretion of each shops' manager. Would you believe it, surprise, surprise, none of the Threshers where I live are taking part in this discounting. Threshers may think this trick brings customers into their shop, but, like me they will leave very quickly once they realise they were brought there on false pretences. Threshers, thats a serious own goal; you are going to lose customers, not gain them.

  • 137.
  • At 05:31 PM on 20 Mar 2008,
  • DAVID WRAGG wrote:

After following the credit crunch since it took grip of the financial markets back in summer 2007, i cant seem to shake off the fact that the media are only adding to the problems. The BBC only seem to want to report the doom and gloom and nothing that would add confidence. An example of this would be this week, on monday bank stocks slumped due to the bail out of BS in the US. The BBC reported how bad this was and continued to push how bad the situation was. Not once did it comment on how the FED had acted quickly to sort the mess out and that the DOW actually finished slightly higher for the day. My question is, do you have a policy to report the 'doom and gloom' and not the good work of the Fed and other central banks?

  • 138.
  • At 04:50 PM on 28 Mar 2008,
  • paulm wrote:

Is there going to be any government compensation for Northern Rock shareholders?

  • 139.
  • At 05:50 PM on 28 Mar 2008,
  • Iain Jeffrey wrote:

How can a company as large and as reputable (allegedly) as Amazon promote illegal software? When browsing their software category, one of the sponsored links is to a site selling cut price software - Looking at that site, you quickly notice that they do not publish an address or phone number. Further, when looking at their "Terms of Service" page, they state:
- this software can not be registered with its producer for support
- if the program requires activation you agree to activate through our company

Both statements seem to be clear indications that the software is an illegal copy.

I would like to know whether Amazon have a duty to validate sponsored links or whether they are able to shirk any such moral obligations. Surely by advertising such a site, they are potentially putting their customers at risk, as the credit card section on the esoftwaredownloads site is not protected. In addition, don't they have a moral obligation to their suppliers - the software publishers?

  • 140.
  • At 06:57 AM on 29 Mar 2008,
  • Simon Edmonds wrote:

Hi Robert,

Over the last few days I have noticed that both Natwest and LloydsTSB are now quoting 7 days to clear cheques when paying into personal and business current accounts.

In Nov 2007 all the banks were supposedly signed up to the 2-4-6 system of cheque clearing where interest was payable from day 2, funds could be drawn on day 4 and by day 6 the cheque couldn't bounce.

I don't know the figures for uncleared funds on a daily basis but could this be the banks way of gaining extra liquidity in the face of the breakdown in interbank lending? In which case, shouldn't the public be made aware of this?

The banks seem to be an a unique position in rewarding shareholders when times are good but shifting the bill onto customers when times are bad.

  • 141.
  • At 12:18 PM on 03 Apr 2008,
  • S Martin wrote:

Hi Robert, yesterday National Saving announced new rates, including new issues for their tax-free certificates. Instruments a lot of us use as a secure way of saving, as encouraged by this 'prudent' governemnt. The last issues 15 and 42 were at RPI + 1.35% for both 3 and 5 years, similar rates have been in place for previous issues. \the new issues are as follows:

Index-linked Savings Certificates
3-year 16th Issue
Guaranteed compound rate over 3 years Index-linking + 0.25% AER Tax-free

Index-linked Savings Certificates
5-year 43rd Issue
Guaranteed compound rate over 5 years Index-linking + 0.35% AER Tax-free

What do you think? Are the governemtn expecting inflation to continue to rise and interest rates to drop; to raise funds from elsewhere; or just looking to stuff those who regularly invest in safe tax-free options and hope we wont notice a 1% drop in return? Perhaps we shoulf be told - over to you!

  • 142.
  • At 01:29 PM on 03 Apr 2008,
  • Rod Hine wrote:

Dear Mr Peston

First a compliment - you have brought a welcome degree of enthusiasm and clarity to financial matter programmes, and your latest programme on the super-rich rip-off was very illuminating.

However, why on earth was it so heavily overlaid with MUSIC and SILLY NOISES? It does nothing for the viewer and just distracts and annoys. If there is speech (talking head) then there should be either studio silence OR genuine ambient noise in the background. If there isn't speech then discrete and RELEVANT music or sound effects are OK but they must fade right back if commentary begins. Most of the time I was struggling to hear voices above the irritating percussion noises and music. Particularly annoying are the "whooshes" and "swishes" and "bloops" that seem to be de rigeur to accompany moving graphics.

Last year we spoke to John Simpson who seemed to be resigned to having such extraneous noises introduced by producers - if this is so in your case then please stand up for a bit of sanity. Or does the BBC have a cellar full of otherwise unemployed musicians and a quota of music and sound effects to be deployed?

Best wishes

Rod & Josie Hine

  • 143.
  • At 06:26 PM on 03 Apr 2008,
  • David Crabtree wrote:

"Super Rich: The Greed Game "
programe was excellent. Your daily analysis of the ups and downs are v good. For me, a small business owner, you explain in a manner neither patronising nor too complex Thank you.

  • 144.
  • At 11:54 AM on 04 Apr 2008,
  • alec jackson wrote:

many congratulations on the making of your greed and mega rich programme.I found it very interesting on how the other half live whilst the average joe only can dream of wealth like that.Just goes to show how greed is distructive to the economy.

well done the BBC.

  • 145.
  • At 03:37 PM on 04 Apr 2008,
  • jasper garratt wrote:

"Super Rich: The Greed Game "
i was pleased with the simplicity of the programme that allowed the general public to understand the current financial climate.
However, i was extremely disappointed with the way no accountability was given to the people who actually created Asset-backed Securities. You seemed to blame the fund management institutions who although took advantage- were not to blame for the mess it has caused. You also failed to mention that the elite managers interviewed work very hard and are extremely qualified. they have earnt what they have. It is capitalism at its best.

  • 146.
  • At 11:51 PM on 06 Apr 2008,
  • marie lucchetta wrote:

107-108: I am so glad I am not the only one to think this! I was beginning to feel very guilty. When I hear Robert is about to speak on the Today program, I find myself sighing "Oh no, not Robert Peston!" I think he deserves to sound as brilliantly as he writes and deserves the best elocution training possible. The BBC owes you that Robert! You're great, demand it! :o)

  • 147.
  • At 12:08 PM on 13 Apr 2008,
  • graham Johnson wrote:

I disagree strongly with the last comments on Robert speaking on the Today programme, I feel Robert beings a down to earth , clear and honest view and tone , in a manner which is extremley charming and concise

  • 148.
  • At 10:55 AM on 14 Apr 2008,
  • Greg Lacey wrote:

Is it a coincidence that the Halifax monthly house price data is published 2 days before the MPC meets each month, whilst the ONS inflation statistics come out two days afterwards? Is the MPC allowing “spin” to influence its decisions? It seems to me that in the days leading up to each meeting various "interested" parties (CML etc) start putting information out to encourage rates to be eased.

Given then however that the reduction in rates isn't passed on, what is the MPC achieving, other than enabling the banks to claw back some of their losses and stoking inflation.

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