British Government to Sell State and Public Assets to Help Pay Off Debt
(FOXNEWS) In a bold effort to help pay down government debt, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced a major sale of state and public assets on Monday, Times of London reported.
The sale of assets reportedly totals $25 billion and includes some famous landmarks in Britain, including the Channel Tunnel, better known as the “Chunnel.”
The Dartford Crossing and the nationalized bookmaker the Tote will also be sold over the next two years, according to the newspaper.
More controversial moves are the privatization of the Student Loan Book and the sale of the government’s stake in Urenco, a group which runs uraniumenrichment plants in Britain, Germany and the Netherlands.
The government currently has a 33 percent stake in Urenco, according to BBC News.
The government will sell its stake in the uranium company “subject to security issues being resolved,” Times of London reported.
Surplus real estate owned by government departments will also be sold to help raise more capital and reduce debt.
Brown reportedly said Britain is “only halfway there” when it comes to getting out of the recession. He said that prematurely cutting back on spending could send the country into a depression.
Britain’s chancellor predicts that public borrowing would reach record-breaking levels in the next two years, according to BBC News. Brown said the funds raised through the sale would help support newcapital investment and decrease the debt.
Brown added that the sell-off was part of a wider deficit reduction plan and should raise $25 billion over the next 4 years.
Brown has been attacked by the Conservatives who say paying down the deficit too fast is not an effective long-term solution.
“There is a fundamental divide within British politics,” he reportedly said to a group of economists.
“I am absolutely sure that, over the next year, the pursuit of growth in the context of a deficit reduction plan that is sensible and properly timed, and at the same time the pursuit of an investment- and export-led growth strategy, alongside international co-operation, is the only way that we can avoid a decade where growth will be low and unemployment high.”
The prime minister has acknowledged the importance of cutting back on spending over the next couple of years.
The Times of London and BBC News contributed to this report.