Magazine article Public Finance

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Magazine article Public Finance

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Presidents and prime ministers found their way to I xmdon this week to discuss ways to save the global economy. Up for discussion were bail-outs, fiscal stimuli and greater regulation of the banks and other financial institutions.

Nowhere in the packed agenda was there any mention of privatisation. The days of big state sell-offs are well and truly behind us. Who could possibly see privatisation as an appropriate economic model for the twenty-first century?

Well, Lord Mandelson for one. Trie business secretary has enthusiastically supported plans to part-privatise Royal Mail, and is legislating to this effect. He hopes to sell a 30% stake in the business and to complete the deal by early 20 10.

However, as our cover feature shows (pages 18-21), Mandelson faces huge opposition. More than 140 labour MPs have signed an early day motion, while the postal workers union is threatening to withdraw its funding for the party.

Moreover, the business and enterprise select committee has called on the government to step back from its privatisation plans.

So, given the prevailing economic philosophy and the level of opposition, why is the government pushing through such controversial legislation? …

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