Recession-hit Britain to sell off state assets: British PM
The British government will sell off a raft of state assets to help reduce its debt, Prime Minister Gordon Brown was to announce on Monday.world Updated: Oct 12, 2009 07:55 IST
The British government will sell off a raft of state assets to help reduce its debt, Prime Minister Gordon Brown was to announce on Monday.
The government is to sell off 16 billion pounds (25.4 billion dollars, 17.2 billion euros) of assets, Brown was to say, according to extracts from a keynote speech he was to give in London.
Brown was to outline details of initial sales that could raise three billion pounds, including the Channel Tunnel linking Britain to France; the 33 percent stake in European uranium corsortium URENCO; the Tote bookmakers; the River Thames crossings at Dartford, east of London; and the Student Loans Company.
Brown is aiming to halve Britain's deficit over the next four years.
"We also need a deficit reduction plan that supports growth and jobs, not one that snuffs out recovery before it has started," Brown was to say.
The government will also sell off surplus real estate as market conditions improve.
Brown was to say government should focus on "what it does best".
The funds raised will help pay off Britain's debts, he was to say.
Brown said in a podcast on Sunday that his speech would spell out his vision for "enduring and sustainable" economic growth.
"Because it is ultimately growth that is the key to paying down debt," he added.
A spokesman for the main opposition Conservatives said: "As any family knows, selling off things helps in the short-term and, given the state the country is in, is probably necessary but it is no substitute for a long-term plan to get the country to live within its means."