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Friday, 30 January 2009

image for Brown: Toxic assets taste 'great'
Sweet taste of toxic assets

The government is set to buy up toxic assets from UK banks and sell them to the public as confectionery.

Treasury sources close to the deal explained uncertainty in the markets had created unease over any mortgage-backed assets - but most were profitable in the long term.

It is understood the Treasury will issue £14 billion worth of bonds, to be bought by banks, so the banks can sell their toxic assets to the Bank of England and receive £14 billion to cover the costs of the bonds.

The assets will then be repackaged and resold to the public as sweets.

"The cabinet has already tasted the assets," a Treasury source said.

"Margaret Beckett particularly liked the AA+ rated chocolate orange drops. The prime minster even saved some for his boys and Sarah."

The issue of residential mortgage-backed confectionery (RMBC) is still dependent on clearence from the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

However, the Treasury has already lined up AAA sweets to be sold at Fortum & Mason's as Reembec Drops at £12/g - including a Gilt coating.

Lower grade assets - those graded BB by the FSA - will be sold as nicotine replacement gum or advent calender chocolates.

Dr Vincent Cable, Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman or Liberal Democrat shadow chancellor, hit out at the plans.

"The government's dependence on the long-term advent calender market means the Bank of England will holding on to the assets until 2013.

"The loss of Woolworths has painted them into a corner, so the only sensible move is to nationalise Thornton's"

The actual shadow chancellor-for-now George Osborne said: "If the reports are true it is a shame Brown dithered for so long and didn't accept our policy earlier.

"Brown has missed the Christmas market. My auntie Fanny would have loved to have ripped open Santa's bulging sack and receive a golden shower of toxic bonbons."

Simon French-Guyana, junior Treasury personal pre-under secretary, told reporters at Davos: "Stop looking at me."

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