I’ve Got few Billion In Here. Honest.
George Osborne has been giving more details of the “credit easing” scheme that he “will unveil” (sic) on Tuesday.
That’s the one that was billed as £20 billion.
Now it’s £40 billion.
Or is it?
Says Mr Osborne:
We are making available £20bn for the National Loan Guarantee Scheme; however, it sits within an envelope that could be as large as £40bn.
So that’s got that clear then.
The BBC comments:
It is understood that the second £20bn of loan guarantees are being held in reserve for the moment but could be made available in the next two years.
Or then again, it might not. It depends. Either way, it sounds great in the newspapers.
But there’s more!
The chancellor will also propose that the government takes a stake in an investment fund with private sector investors to provide a source of credit or loans to medium-sized companies.
I think it used to be called the National Enterprise Board. But that word “Board” is so Tony-Benn-20th-Century. Now it will probably be called the National Enterprise Agency.
And there’s even more!
A third scheme would offer an alternative to traditional bank loans by encouraging firms to sell bonds – or company IOUs – to the market.
The BBC doesn’t say what “encouraging” means. I suspect that somehow it will mean taxpayers paying yet more.
This Tory lot have really, really lost the plot.