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Darling says “No Rock sale before election”

Chancellor Alistair Darling has ruled out a sale of Northern Rock before the general election saying the timetable is too tight.

Yesterday the European Union competition commissioner Neelie Kroes approved the Government’s plans to split Northern Rock into a “good” and “bad” bank.

The privatisation of the “good” bank known as Northern Rock plc is expected to begin next year once the restructure has been completed.

According to the Financial Times, the Treasury says it is unlikely that the sale would be completed before a May election.

Yesterday, the Government confirmed that it had hired UBS banker Robin Budenberg to head up UK Financial Investments. One of Budenberg’s first jobs will be to oversee Northern Rock’s restructure.

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