Alistair Darling

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G-20 Pledges to Keep Stimulus Flowing

(Newser) - Top finance officials from rich and developing countries today pledged to maintain stimulus measures to boost the global economy, warning that the fledging recovery that provided the backdrop to their meeting is by no means assured. Group of 20 finance ministers also promised a crackdown on bankers' pay—but stopped... More »

Brown Likely to Hang On to Power

In reshuffle, British PM invites Apprentice host to join government

(Newser) - Gordon Brown looked set to hang on to power this morning, despite the shock resignation of yet another minister who called on him to step down. James Purnell, a young Blairite, quit the Cabinet seconds after polls closed in last night's election, forcing Brown to bring forward a planned government... More »

UK Expenses Scandal Hits Alistair Darling

Govt's No. 2 claimed 2 houses at same time, may be demoted

(Newser) - Britain's ongoing political expenses scandal reached all the way to the second-highest post in government today, after the Telegraph broke news that Chancellor Alistair Darling reportedly expensed the service charge on a South London apartment he was renting out while also claiming allowances on his Downing Street house. Though he... More »

UK Drops Rates to 0.5%, Begins 'Printing Money'

Quantitative easing begins with $108B of new money

(Newser) - The Bank of England cut interest rates today by 50 basis points to an all-time low of 0.5% and began a far more drastic process: quantitative easing, or "printing money." The Times of London reports that the Bank received permission from the government this morning to spend... More »

UK Forking Over $60M to Bail Out Charities

Nonprofits fear reduced services for homeless, unemployed, families

(Newser) - The British government will bail out the nation's charities with a $60 million lifeline, as experts warned that one in three nonprofits may have to lay off staff, reports the Guardian. While the charities welcomed the bailout, it is far less than the $150 million they requested to maintain vital... More »

Desperate Times: UK Mulls 3-Day Week

Gov't may compensate workers to avoid higher cost of mass layoffs

(Newser) - Now officially in recession amid the global downturn, the specter of a three-day work week has emerged in Britain, the Independent reports. Though officials say it’s "not imminent," the government has discussed paying firms to cut hours with public cash going toward compensating employees for the lost... More »

UK Slashes Interest Rates to All-Time Low of 1.5%

50-point cut less than business groups had hoped for

(Newser) - The venerable Bank of England cut interest rates today by 50 basis points, trimming them to 1.5%—their lowest since the bank's founding in the 17th century. Investors had expected the move, although business organizations had pressed for a 100-point cut. Yesterday, Britain's finance minister admitted that the recession... More »

Feds Consider Insuring All Bank Deposits

(Newser) - Under the shadow of the deteriorating global economy, the US is considering two more steps to assuage markets, the Wall Street Journal reports: guaranteeing billions in bank debt and insuring all US bank deposits. Either move is an aggressive step, and in tandem they would mark Wasington's largest intervention yet... More »

UK Buys Up Bank Shares in Radical Bailout

Cost of drastic rescue package could top $800B

(Newser) - The British government will become part owner of the nation's biggest banks with a mammoth $88-billion rescue package for the troubled institutions, the Wall Street Journal reports. Under the plan, swiftly assembled after UK bank stocks plummeted in trading yesterday, the government will purchase non-voting shares in eight of the... More »

Pound Plunges to Record Low Against Euro

Gloomy economic outlook sends British currency tumbling

(Newser) - The British pound has sunk to its lowest level ever against the euro since the European currency was introduced in 1999, the Financial Times reports. The fall follows Chancellor Alistair Darling's dire warning that the outlook for the British economy is the worst in 60 years. The pound dropped to... More »

Darling: British Economy Is at 60-Year Low

UK economic chief bluntly warns of harder times ahead

(Newser) - The outlook for Britain's economy is the bleakest since the days when the country was rebuilding from the Blitz, Chancellor Alistair Darling tells the Guardian. Darling warns that the downturn for the UK and the wider world could be "more profound and longer-lasting" than people expect. He acknowledges that... More »

Bank of England Launches Mortgage Swap Plan

Central bank would take on $100B in mortgages

(Newser) - Commercial banks will be allowed to temporarily swap some $100 billion in troublesome mortgages for securities backed by Britain's central bank under a plan announced today, the Wall Street Journal reports. The move by the Bank of England, aimed at boosting  liquidity and confidence in the banking system, follows similar... More »

Mortgage Crisis Spreads Across the Atlantic

UK housing prices plunge; chancellor acts to shore up market

(Newser) - UK home prices tumbled 2.5% in February—the largest fall since the 1990s—as the International Monetary Fund warned that Britain could face a housing crisis similar to the US. British PM Gordon Brown insisted yesterday the decline was containable, but the Bank of England is now under serious... More »

How Bad Is Northern Rock?

Pundits examine the fallout of unavoidable nationalization

(Newser) - The subprime crisis has forced the British government to do what it dreaded: nationalize a bank. What's the fallout from the Northern Rock takeover?
  • Gordon Brown "put quite a good face" on an unpalatable decision, says Philip Stephens of the Financial Times. Nationalization hasn't hurt him much, but the
... More »

Move to Nationalize UK Bank Sparks Fury

Shareholders expected to battle public ownership

(Newser) - Furious shareholders concerned about the risk to their investments are blasting the British government's decision to nationalize ailing Northern Rock bank. The British Treasury is expected to face lengthy legal action from investors once the government formally announces details of the takeover today. Trading in bank shares is being suspended,... More »

UK Nationalizes Northern Rock

Bank takeover marks desperate move for British ministers

(Newser) - British ministers plan to nationalize Northern Rock as part of a bold, desperate move to rescue the struggling bank, the BBC reports. Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling said two private bids to take over Northern Rock failed to offer “sufficient value for money to the taxpayer,” adding... More »

UK Scraps Plan To Tax Rich Foreigners

Finance industry's fears of exodus forces minister's hand

(Newser) - Facing criticism from Britain's financial establishment and within his own Labour party, Treasury Minister Alistair Darling yesterday scrapped plans to tax "non-domiciled" foreigners as much as $60,000 a year. Investors worried the levy would push rich foreigners out of London and compromise the financial sector, the Financial Times... More »

Bank of England Governor Gets 2nd Term

King reappointed despite criticism over Northern Rock

(Newser) - Mervyn King has won a second term as governor of the Bank of England, the Fed's British counterpart, ending months of speculation about his future. Reuters reports that King will serve at the head of the UK central bank for another five years despite the City's fury at his handling... More »

Northern Rock Plan Backfires on Brown

Scathing critics slam Labour handling of bank's failure

(Newser) - A day after the chancellor of the exchequer announced new plans to accelerate the sale of Northern Rock, the British press sees serious trouble for Gordon Brown's government and no certainty that the taxpayers' $110 billion will be repaid. Anatole Kaletsky, a leading Times columnist who has been sympathetic to... More »

Northern Rock Bailout Plan a Money Shuffle

Deal pays back government loans, but public still on the hook

(Newser) - The British government today unveiled its last-gasp plan to hand off the Northern Rock hot potato and prevent nationalization, the London Times reports. Under the plan, the bank would immediately pay back the £25 billion it owes the government by selling the debt to private investors as bonds. But... More »

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