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Who gets nuclear spoils?

Robert Peston | 13:00 UK time, Thursday, 24 July 2008

It's been one of the longest negotiations in corporate history, but I have learned that EDF of France - in partnership with Centrica - is likely to announce early next week that it is buying British Energy, the UK's nuclear power generator, for more than £12bn.

Power station"There's a push to conclude a deal before the holiday," said an executive close to the companies. "We hope it will be done in the next few days".

The owner of eight UK nuclear power stations has been on the auction block for months, largely because the government wants to sell its significant "economic interest", which is equivalent to a stake of more than a third in the company.

British Energy's board is insisting that EDF pay more than 750p a share, perhaps as much as 775p - which would value the company at well over £12bn - having rejected an offer of 680p made by EDF in May.

The deal is not yet finalised and could still be delayed. But as and when the deal is done, up to a quarter of Britsh Energy is likely to remain British.

Centrica, owner of British Gas, is negotiating with EDF to be its minority partner in the acquisition and may end up paying around £3bn for a 25% stake in British Energy.

That should give Centrica preferential access to future nuclear power and a valuable hedge against future movements in energy prices.

The sale of BE to EDF would be controversial for many reasons - such as whether EDF should have exclusive rights to develop a new generation of power plants on BE's existing sites and whether a business of strategic importance to the UK's future energy needs should be handed to a company controlled by the French government.

But I am going to look at an issue that's just as important but has been largely ignored: what will happen to the £4bn plus that would be received by the Department for Business when its stake is sold?

The proceeds are to be given to an institution called the Nuclear Liabilities Fund, to pay for the huge future costs of decommissioning British Energy's existing nuclear power station and making them safe. Those costs would be huge - many tens of billions of pounds.

The Nuclear Liabilities Fund has already received more than £2bn, after the government sold some of its British Energy stake (at a price much lower than today's) to investors.

Now it's what happened to that cash after it was received by the Nuclear Liabilities Fund that could prove highly controversial: the money was lent back to the government by being put into the National Loans Fund. That's a safe place to put the money, but the rate of interest paid by the National Loans Fund is miserly - just over 5% at the moment - and there's no opportunity for capital appreciation.

So there's zero chance of that money growing in value enough to make a serious dent in the future costs of decommissioning, unless the cash were taken out of the National Loans Fund and reinvested in a range of assets that offer the possibility of capital appreciation.

Or to put it another way, there's an argument that the Nuclear Liabilities Fund ought to be allowed to behave like those sovereign wealth funds that have been created from the Middle East to China, which are investing their respective nations' wealth for the long term.

So why did the money end up in National Loans Fund?

Well, maybe going for security last year, when markets were in turmoil made some sense.

However it may also be relevant that deposits into the National Loans Fund count as deductions from public sector borrowing. In other words, when the money goes there, it makes the public finances look stronger.

Which also means, at a time when the public finances are looking a bit shakey, that it's pretty difficult for the Nuclear Liabilities Fund to take all that cash out of the National Loans Fund - to do so would be to inflate public sector borrowing figures, at a time when they already look pretty ghastly.

The Nuclear Liabilities Fund will also be under immense pressure from the Treasury to put the next lot of BE proceeds, that chunky £4bn, into the National Loans Fund.

If it were to do that, some would argue that the government would be putting its short-term financial interests ahead of the long-term nuclear safety of the UK.

So what if the trustees of the Nuclear Liabilities Fund simply told the Treasury to hop off?

Well, they could try. But my understanding is that the government has retained the right to instruct those trustees what to do with their cash. So the trustees may end up having no choice but to use the British Energy proceeds to shore up the public finances, rather than to insure all of us against the mindboggling costs of cleaning up nuclear Britain.


  • Comment number 1.

    Having actually studied Nuclear Engineering I am terrified of any further expansion.
    Before the first substandard (to keep costs down) drop of concrete is poured for any new powerstations the companies MUST prove that their liabilities are underwritten.

    Nuclear Power will never solve our energy problems - it will make huge profits for those involved from the taxpayer which is why it is pushed so hard.

  • Comment number 2.

    If the government wasn't in danger of breaking it's 40% golden rule would they be selling this shareholding?

    Is this deal for the benifit of the UK's future or just to prop up the short term balance sheet problem but will be detrimental for the population long term?

  • Comment number 3.

    Regarding Nuclear Power I am wondering how secure are the sources of Uranium to power the things. My understanding is that a lot of the Uranium is currently coming from old Russian warheads - is that true?

    I have to say that anything that reduces our dependance on corrupt middle eastern regimes, Nigeria and Russia has to be a good thing.

    Regarding the money invested by the Nuclear Liabilities fund, maybe it is just as well that they did not try putting it into other investments such as property and equities. The SWF's have hardly done well in the last year, have they.

    Seems to me that there will be a big shortfall in electricity in a few years' time. One thing I have learned about this government is that if it's capable of messing something up, they will do so big style.

  • Comment number 4.

    Accepting that you have found a very interesting political angle on this story, Mr P, the big issue remains Sarkozy's overall strategy for offloading France's much bigger decommissioning liabilities, thatv make ours look like small beer.

    As we've consistently predicted since spotting this under-reported news item a year ago, it's fairly Sarkozy plans to argue for an EU Common Nuclear Policy, like the CAP, to relieve France of its otherwise crippling burden.

    Having EDF cozy up to Gordon Brown, via the BE takeover he so needs, is just a first step.

  • Comment number 5.

    #1 MadTom1999

    What frightens you more? The risks associated with Nuclear Power or the damage we are doing to the planet by using fossil fuels and contaminating and warming our only planet.

    Like many engineers (and I am one too) I think always one has to ask oneself if one is more concerned about the field one knows about, than the ones one does not know about, because of one's relative lack of knowledge.

    I also do not think we will ever 'solve' our energy problems..

    I do however share your concerns about the demonstrated (relative / absolute) incompetence of Her Majesty's Government in negotiating suitable deals with the private sector - that worries me considerably - even frightens me.

  • Comment number 6.

    It isn't before time that we made the decision to renew our nuclear capacity. I am however very concerned at the costs quoted for cleaning up existing sites ? It seems that whatever figure these "Cleaners" come up with are unchallenged. You can be sure it wont cost the French or Germans the same ! Does anyone in Britain ever get anything at a fair price ! Mores the shame that we have lost any sense of proportion or skill in our politicians.
    Finally, I hope Centrica make a better job of running our serious nuclear industry than they do of Billing, Computer systems and Service in their existing subsidiary British Gas. Until they PROVE that they can sort out the troubles at British Gas then I believe they should be excluded from running such an important British service.

  • Comment number 7.

    I am a scientist (chemist and biologist) and I know which I am more terrified of and it's most definitely nuclear energy. I have no idea why it's still being pushed as a solution to the worlds energy shortages. For no other reason than the thought of waste being poisonous to all of life on the planet and left for hundreds or thousands of years. Let alone the risk of accidents (Chernobyl) terrorist attack etc etc. How will people in the future view us when they have to clear up the mess if there's anyone left that is.

    At least with using fossil fuels the waste products are only CO2 and water both of which are non-toxic. The problem is just that we produce too much of it quicker than the earth can deal with it. The biosphere uses up the CO2 and without it there would be no green plants and no life as we know it. We just need to learn to live sustainably now the earth has more people to support. Those of us in the west use up far more that our fair share of the earth's resources.

    Surely pushing for renewable energy sources which do not cause irreversible damage to the earth must be a priority over nuclear.

    Only today there has been a report of French workers contaminated by nuclear waste at a French nuclear plant. I think the French have made a big mistake in going for the nuclear option and of course the financial implications of dealing with the waste have hardly been considered in the overall equation so far.

  • Comment number 8.

    The government has already sold off the family silver, and most of the gold, to pay for its disastrous public spending. I suppose it was inevitable they'd want to sell off the uranium too.
    The pitiful thing is that they - and we - all know that in the end it will cost us more but it will go ahead for short-term reasons.
    Isn't it time that we changed our ludicrously poor system of government and changed to something else?
    Perhaps we could even try democracy?

  • Comment number 9.

    #7 janchild

    If we as scientists (an engineer and physicist in my case) are so concerned with nuclear energy, not only of it itself, but for the ignorant politicians and civil servants who make the decisions for us, then why have we not come up with suitable 'safe'(er) and economic solutions?

    OK, so the best solution is for us all to reduce our energy consumption per capita by a large percentage, but will it happen?. I can see very good reasons to ban the bomb, but nuclear energy (and its safer untested and undeveloped fields such a cold fusion) is at least a solution that the atmospheric chemists tell up will perhaps not broil us all alive! (If it does not drown us first!)

    There are no easy choices, but that does not mean that the decision should not be made. Reluctantly I have to suggest that the nuclear option is one part of the solution to global warming become so bad that it extinguishes all life as we know it.

  • Comment number 10.


    no, metals sold off have been converted into foreign currencies - not used to finance public spending. so the main thrust of your posting is wrong.

  • Comment number 11.

    Well, presumably decomissioning the old Nuclear Plants will take a long time.

    Putting the money some where safe and drip feeding it out to pay for the work being done does not sound unreasonable.

    Investing the money with a Private Growth Funds sounds like a recipe for corruption.

    Presumably EDF are expert with Nuclear Power (or as expert as anyone) perhaps they can run more efficient Power Stations?

    I woul be interested to know why more isn't done to promote Wind power and Solar Energy ?

    Perhaps a bit of Government cash to subsidise Windfarms etc might be a good long term investment.

  • Comment number 12.

    I think it is perfectly sensible for the govt. to put this money somewhere safe for the time being. Markets are far to volatile and insecure at the moment to be investing it elsewhere. The sovereign wealth funds mentioned have made some appalling investments over the last few years. In retrospect 5% would seem good to them.

    In response to Cassandretta, there was very little family silver to sell when Labour came to power. Mrs Thatcher had sold everything very cheaply, years earlier to fund her disastrous economic policies

  • Comment number 13.

    I'm sure Andrew Brown, head of media relations at EDF and brother of the Prime minister will be overjoyed at this deal.

  • Comment number 14.

    This also great news for Dr Gerry McCann, father of Madeleine. He will be pleased to know that his work on COMARE, the government committe that proved nuclear power stations were not any any way responsible for causing cancer has born fruit.

    Without that report, EDF would not have a bought a major stake in British Energy.

    A brave new nuclear world is opening up before us.

  • Comment number 15.

    Presumably EDF are expert with Nuclear Power


    They are the biggest in the world according to them.

    EDF, the world’s leading nuclear power utility, operates a French nuclear fleet consisting of 58 reactors spread over 19 different sites

  • Comment number 16.

    #5 John_from_Hendon
    Dont fall into the trap of thinking its either Nuclear Power or global warming. Both scare the hell out of me. I know we can stop nuclear power. I dont know if we can stop global warming. (Decomissioning nuclear power stations becomes irrelevant when they are under water due to global warming.) And dont mention energy saving!
    NP stations will have to run at nearly full load continuously to be 'economic' and to design them to be turned on and off at will would make them far more uneconomic and a terrorist target. They simply dont fit into our power needs.
    At the political level....

  • Comment number 17.

    Alistair Darling told the FT he didn't believe in economic patriotism and here's more proof that he's quite happy to stand back and allow UK industry to be taken over by foreign companies even when - as in this case - the foreign company is state controlled.

    I'm ashamed of this Govt.

  • Comment number 18.

    I believe that having a good energy policy is vital for the country. We are now a net importer of the stuff. In the next few years our energy deficit will grow. It is one of the key areas of policy in relation to future prosperity. However because it can be a bit technical, there are no easy answers and is part of global warming (a subject you are either interested in or completely turn off to) I believe that the energy gap (as distinct from global warming) is hugely underdiscussed by the mainstream media. Medium term its more important than the credit crunch and certainly more important ecomonically than house prices. It's a huge crisis starting to happen.

    Whether the solution is nuclear, turning the North Sea into the Gulf of wind power, vast areas of solar panels in the Sahara, hydro and themic power from Iceland, wave power in the Severn, biofuels or whatever there is going to have to be massive investment as they all have very deep issues that are a long way from being sorted out.

    As it will probably have to be a combination of the above with coal, gas and oil as well having French owned Eon involved (who other bloggers here seem to think know about nuclear) sound sensible. However no more falling out with the French is about as likely as no more boom and bust. So can't we keep some control somehow in case there is a crisis?

    I was encouraged to note that in a recent underreported speech Gordon Brown set out many of the issues relating to Europe's energy problem. He may not know the answers but at least he hasn't got his head in the sand when it comes to acknowledging that we have a huge problem. So maybe he may not just waste away all of the GBP4 billion trying to solve his current electorial problems. (Sorry! Forgot - he's a politician. He will spend it on whatever buys him votes.)

    If he must spend it as he's a spendaholic he could do worse that spend it on home insulation. Despite years of save it campaigns and cavity wall and roofing insulation grants there is still a huge number of properties in Britain that could be insulated that are not. As there are lots of newly unemployed builders about, well promoted and very cheap (heavily subsidised) insulation that saves you money quickly and provides work could be a vote winner. Instead of admitting that the government has been unprepared for the energy gap so we now all need to save energy, he could try to blame it on increase consumption in China and India and say that insulation is now ecomonic to do. So long as it didn't just turn in to a way that contractors could rip off the tax payer, I think it could be a good use of the money.

    Unfortunately any scheme that doesn't pour money into the pockets of his City friends is unlikely.

  • Comment number 19.

    I think what people should realise is that energy-led economic growth is what is going to happen, however much prosperous moralisers in the West may seek to stop it. Not only is it going to happen, but it is going to proceed at as fast a rate as can be achieved by human ingenuity, and the energy required to fuel it will be sourced from whichever source is most convenient and economic to the consumers of it.

    Learn the mantra ... "However much I disapprove of this, it's going to happen"

    In one way, this should ease moral tensions, for it will no longer be of any purpose to invent doomsday scenarios and false apocalypses in order to provide powerful but mythical reasons for opposing something which is no more than an offense to sensitivities.

    So maybe all the time and effort that is going into the invention of "credible" fiction could be re-directed into working out the best way of dealing with the by-products of the vast energy requirement that we are inevitably going to have to produce. There's surely more satisfaction to be gained from working for something that's real than for something that isn't.

  • Comment number 20.

    If you're really interested, there's a lot more about nuclear and renewable sources on Mark Mardell's Euro blog - see "France builds nuclear future".

  • Comment number 21.

    #16 MadTom1999

    Things seem to frighten you quite a bit. Neither nuclear power nor global warming scare me very much.

    I also do not share your certainty that Nuclear Power can be stopped and I believe that the best way to handle Global Warming is to plan to live with its consequences.

    I absolutely do agree with the necessity to site all strategic infrastructure about the maximum conceivable sea level rise height, be if for your frightening nuclear power stations or any other vital infrastructure.

    Politicians scare me. Their time horizon is getting elected next time, or even tomorrows newspaper headlines and it does not seem to me a good way to plan anything. They have also shown themselves, along with their civil servants, almost completely incompetent at buying anything, be it a Millennium Dome, helicopter, third runway at Heathrow or NHS computer system. (Oh, and other countries politicians are just the same.)

    I am not convinced that any power generation system is without risks. I can think of many risks to them all. But everything in life is a balance of risk and opportunity - but not frightening. Cool calm, intellectually honest calculation of risks and benefits should be how we handle these things, not by intemperate and heated debate and I do not believe that being frightened is a good place to be.

  • Comment number 22.

    What a good idea to sell our nuclear power stations to the French. When can they collect them?

    It would be far safer to have our nuclear power generated in France. It's a much larger and emptier country and we are terribly crowded here. One disaster here would be devastating, but I'm sure the French could just shrug it off...I hear you can do very clever things with DC or superconducting power cables these days.

  • Comment number 23.

    I find it surprising that anyone still thinks that nuclear could be nearly as bad (or even worse) than fossil fuels, let alone someone who claims to have any kind of technical background. This issue has been thoroughly put to bed. Not only has our past several decades of experience made it obvious that nuclear's overall environmental and public health risks/impacts are negligible compared to those of fossil fuels, every single scientific study on the matter (e.g., the European Commission's ExternE project) has reached the same conclusion. There is a complete scientific concensus that nuclear is vastly superior to fossil fuels with respect to the environment.

    Not only do thousands of coal miners die every year, but fossil fuel power plants cause hundreds of thousands of deaths worldwide, EVERY YEAR, from the emission of various air pollutants (other than CO2). In stark contrast, Western nuclear power plants have not killed a single member of the public over their entire (~40 year) history, and have never had any measurable impact on public health. Even the consequences of the worst conceivable accident at a nuclear plant would be much smaller than the ANNUAL health and environmental impact from fossil fuels. As for global warming, fossil power plants are the leading single contributor, whereas nuclear has a negligible impact.

    Even over the very long term, nuclear presents a much smaller health/environmental risk. Nuclear waste being unique in terms of very long term risk is a myth. In fact, the toxic sludge from the coal and oil industries, as well as most other waste streams, will represent a much larger health risk thousands of years from now than will nuclear waste, due to the fact that they are generated in millions of times the volume, they are buried much more carelessly, and they have toxic constituents that never decay away.

    The risks from nuclear waste are hopelessly overblown. Commercial nuclear wastes are generated in tiny volumes, have always been contained, and have not caused a single public illness or death (compare that to fossil fuels!!). It is virtually certain that a means of processing, eliminating and recycling the waste will be found LONG before there is any chance of repository leakage. And even if that does not happen, there the chances of significant leakage (before the waste decays to harmlessness) are very small. Finally, even the worst degree of leakage predicted by any analysis only results in a small number of people receiving an annual dose that is somewhat elevated but still well within the range of natural background levels (for which no health impacts have ever been observed). This is supposed to be a major environmental issue?!

    Which is more risky/"frightening"? Please, you can't be serious.

  • Comment number 24.

    Of course EDF could build extra Nuclear Power Plants in Britain to export power to Europe..........

    Lots of happy French NIMBYS ?

    You see I said presumably, because I don't know how clever the experts at EDF actually are.

    I would have thought the British Energy people would have been experts.

    However, the only logical reason for selling a state subsidised industry, is that it needs an injection of expertise to remain efficient.

    Any other reason for selling just doesn't make sense.

    Four billion pounds sounds like a lot, but it isn't on a National scale.

    To the UK Gov't that sort of money is pocket change.

    So they must feel EDF has skills British energy desperately needs.

    Why they couldn't just hire in those skills beats me........

  • Comment number 25.

    Janchild #7

    You are wrong to state that the ONLY waste products of burning fossil fuels are CO2 and water! These are the only by-products of COMPLETE combustion...and of course, complete combustion does not occur in any fossil fuel burning devices.

    Do you work for an oil company?

    Other products produced as a result of burning this fuel are hydrocarbons (HC), carbon monoxide (CO - a poisonous gas!), particulate matter (i.e. such as PM10's etc.),
    and nitrous oxides (commonly known as NOX's and highly toxic).

    On a BBC London news television programme last week a NOX concentration level map of the area around Heathrow Airport was reported. It was constructed by taking NOX recordings at many hundreds of locations in and around the airport. The levels of NOX concentrations were alarmingly high and well above European accepted norms for air quality, in some cases by many factors! In higher concentrations NOX's are highly toxic and can induce irritation in the mucous membranes.
    In addition, particulate matter is produced with some smaller particles being less than 10 microns in diameter. When these particles are breathed into the human respiratory system, because they are so small, they actually pass through the walls of the lungs and into the rest of the human body via the bloodstream. Particulate matter formed in this way is thought to be the cause of a few 100,000 deaths per year in the EU and US alone.
    Unburned and partially burned hydrocarbons are not very nice either!
    Other by-products are produced as well, but I won't bother to go into these.

    I personally would not choose to live anywhere near an airport or a motorway (if at all possible).

    BTW, I work for a company that makes engines.

  • Comment number 26.

    #23 Jim Hopf

    You forgot to mention that electricity from nuclear power will be "too cheap to meter" which was I believe an earlier claim from the nuclear industry. Otherwise all the old propaganda is there.

    You are perhaps aware that Uranium mining may well have killed a few people and what about those mysterious leukemia clusters. Last time I was at Drigg there seemed to be rather a lot of nuclear waste but I forgot, its not "high level" so we can just ignore it.

    As to the effects of the worst conceivable accident, all I can say is I must have more imagination than you!

    Let's face it nuclear is a dishonest industry, inextricably linked to atomic weapons that is as unsustainable as fossil fuels.

    Our lifestyles need to change. All the rosy tinted nuclear futures are false and don't even mention fusion.

  • Comment number 27.

    re 25 BankRSlicker

    OK I hold my hands up. Burning fossil fuels is a nasty dirty business. You forgot to mention the SO2 (sulphur dioxide), acid rain etc. which are other contaminants. Coal-fired power stations have cleaned up their acts a bit and the new generation are less polluting again. Indeed there is an argument for us in Britain to forge ahead with developing ways of cleaning up the emissions in order to export the technology to developing countries such as China.

    However the by-products are nothing as compared to the nasties involved in the nuclear industry. It would appear that very low levels of radioactivity can have quite profound deleterious effects on living organisms and you can't tell it's there unless you have a geiger counter. One accident like the one which happened in Chernobyl is enough to convince me that it's not worth the risk. The reactor was buried under concrete and is not even now necessarily safe for evermore. We even had radioactie fall-out here on the Welsh hills in the 80s and farmers couldn't sell the meat from their radioactive sheep. Anyone else remember that? There's a whole area around the Chernobyl reactor which is no longer lived in for the forseeable future.

    Why would we wish to inflict possible damage on future generations and to the earth and other living things when we could use completely non-polluting methods of energy generation: wind, wave, tidal, solar, hydro etc? It just seems crazy to go for nuclear to me and I don't have any vested interest. I don't work for an oil company; never have and never would. Nor do I own shares in them either. I may have trained as a scientist in the dim and distant past but I don't necessarily think that science is always right. There are a lot of vested interests in that sphere of activity as in every other area of human endeavour.

  • Comment number 28.

    Robert, in your article you say: "up to a quarter of British Energy is likely to remain British" ..

    Well, why be sanguine about that? I'm sure Centrica is just as likely to be gobbled up by, say, a Spanish company, as any other British company. ... it's a fire sale in the UK these days .. it's only a matter of time.

    Is this a problem? Politicians, both Labour and Conservative think this is good for UK plc.

    How they come to this conclusion I have no idea.

  • Comment number 29.


    The industry never claimed it would be too cheap to meter. It has always maintained (from the '50s on) that it would be at least somewhat more expensive than coal (unless, of course, coal is ever required to contain its wastes/toxins the way nuclear always has!).

    Unlike nuclear power plants, uranium mining does have some measurable (negative) impact, but it is nothing compared to the impacts of coal mining, which in turn is nothing compared to the impact of fossil fuel burning. Note that renewables generally require a larger amount of raw materials (concrete, steel, and other more exotic materials) per unit of energy generation, which results in..... more mining.

    The is no chance of nuclear plants being responsible for any health impacts, such as cancer clusters. The most exposure any local residents have received from such operations is a tiny fraction of natural background levels. Background levels vary widely (by a factor of several) and no health impacts, or correlations between disease and background radiation level, has ever been observed. If a doubling or tripling of radiation level has no measurable impact, an increase of less than 1% (from a nearby nuclear plant) clearly has no impact.

    The Chernobyl accident released far more radiation than could any possible event at a Western reactor, due to vast differences in plant design. Despite the massive release, we've only found measurable epidemiological evidence of on the order of ~100 deaths (mainly from Thyroid cancer). Conservative, theoretical/hypothetical estimates predict at most on the order of 10,000 eventual deaths. And this is a one-time event, that is not likely to ever be repeated. The maximum consequences of a Western plant accident are at least an order of magnitude smaller. Compare this to hundreds of thousands of deaths ANNUALLY, from worldwide fossil fuel generation. Even with the latest pollution controls, fossil fuels will never come close to nuclear's performance in terms of low health and environmental risk/impact.

    As for future generations, depleting the world's limited hydrocarbons and/or radically altering the world's climate will all have a much greater impact on them than any tiny risks/impacts from nuclear waste. Indeed, even the buried wastes from other energy sources and industries represent a greater very long term hazard than nuclear waste. Buried solar cells (containing asrenic, telluride and other toxic material) is just one example. That's another myth that will soon fall. Renewable sources are not perfect; no more so than nuclear is. Both nuclear and renewables, however, are far better than fossil fuels.

  • Comment number 30.

    Ladies and Gents.

    Oil used to return 100 times more energy than was required to extract it. One of the reasons for it's popularity. Now with us beginning to resort to shale sands in Canada, that return is down to 5:1 or less.

    There is now only one fuel which gets remotely close to the kind of return on energy input which oil produced, and that is Nuclear. Nothing else even comes close. Not the renewables; wind, wave, tidal, solar, biomass, not coal.

    So, we either allow nuclear development or pay many many many times more for our energy in the future.

    I've already filled up my portfolio allotment.

  • Comment number 31.

    #17 wee-scamp
    if the "leader" of the uk economy doesn't believe in economic patriotism then god help us all.

  • Comment number 32.

    #31 LovelyTim

    As far as I can make it out as long as the city makes a cut out of the transaction then all is OK.

    Look upon the city as an auction house. It makes commission whoever purchases.

    The City is everything.

    Until everything is sold.
    But hey, why be negative?
    There is plenty more to be sold.
    Let the good times roll..


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