What price for our national family silver?
CAN sales of state assets -- "selling off the family silver" -- help us in any substantial way to reduce the yawning deficit in the Government's finances and give us a leaner and more vigorous future? Clearly the European Union and the International Monetary Fund think so.
Proposals for such sales were in the air long before the EU-IMF bailout, but they have taken on added force since the deal was concluded. They have featured in other bailouts. For example, the EU and IMF want Greece to raise no less than €10bn in this manner.
Now Colm McCarthy, the eminent economist commissioned by the outgoing government to examine the question, has sent detailed proposals to the new Government. They include some ingenious ideas.