£30 billion pounds and counting

It is now just three months since the Northern Rock affair broke.  And in that time the government has loaned, or will soon loan, £30 billion to Northern Rock.

Let’s put that in context.  It will build 60 of the new Olympics arenae (based on today’s estimated prices).  Or fund the entire NHS for 11 months.  Or the armed forces for two years.   And that loan has been made in the space of just 3-4 months.

The various debates and committee enquiries have shown that nobody in the Bank of England, the FSA and government come out of this absolutely blameless (although Mervin King comes out head and shoulders a true thinking professional more than any of his counterparts) .

The level of spend so far, and with no sure exit route for the government (it will be interesting to see what interest there is in a week’s time, when the deadline for expressions of interest closes), must surely mean that more heads must roll, other than just at NR?  And a total rethink is needed of our financial systems’ ability to cope with crises, if our credibility as a world financial centre is to be maintained?

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