9 Mar

Lib Dem leader in bank privatisation call

Lib Dem leader in bank privatisation call

Leading UK banks should be fully nationalised and made to lend more, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has argued.

Speaking at his party's spring conference, Mr Clegg said: "We simply don't agree with the government's sham - nationalisation in all but name - where we the taxpayers take all the risks without any control."

He argued that "full but temporary" public ownership - followed by re-privatisation - would give the banks a solid footing from which to start afresh and start lending again.

An increase in lending could help more first-time buyers get on the housing ladder.

The Liberal Democrat leader also pledged to create extra social housing by bringing empty homes back into use if the party was elected.

Mr Clegg's reference to banks nationalised "in all but name" concerns institutions such as Lloyds TSB, in which the government has taken a majority stake.

The Treasury may now seek to use its power over the bank to push it to lend more mortgages, something it is using the full nationalised Northern Rock to do.

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