It has been proposed that the way to privatise the banks is to give the shares out equally to all 46 million UK voters as opposed to selling them off to the highest bidders.


This plan drawn up by the corporate finance firm Portman Capital Partners, has received the endorsement of the co-chair of the LibDem Treasury policy committee Stephen Williams, MP for Bristol West.

This would put about £900 in the form of 1,450 shares in each voters pocket.

This plan, said Mr Williams in a 'Centre Forum' think tank pamphlet, 'would recoup the public's investment and allow the taxpayer to get the benefit from any increased value in the banks'.

He also told the BBC that it would result in every citizen having ' … the same rights as shareholders at the moment, so they'd have the rights to get the company annual report. They could turn up at the AGM'.

'What might happen, for instance, is there could be shareholder associations set up of citizens who own these shares, who will put pressure on the banks to change their behaviour.'

In the past where shares were given to say saver of de-mutualised building societies the shares were quickly sold with cars and holidays replacing them or personal debt being paid down. So anyone with visions of interested citizens crowding into AGMs may well prove to end up disappointed.

The other really big issue is the state of the electoral role. Given recent concerns over the voting registration system and the accuracy of the register as well as some of the voting fraud that has happened, it is not hard to picture some people getting more than just one share. We could well end up with more voters in the UK than the total population. Cue voting reform.

But the money would be better off in the hands of the people in one way or another. The government has a plan to reduce the deficit so extra measures to do it may not be needed. It will also stop ministers queueing up at the Treasury door with begging bowls to spend the money if the shares were sold by the government.

Then people can spend it how they want and help the economy at the same time.

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