Blame for the problems facing Northern Rock rests with greedy executives, “lax and indulgent” regulation and a complacent Government, say the LibDems.
Speaking at the LibDem conference in Brighton today, Shadow Chancellor Vince Cable focused his attack on Gordon Brown suggesting his economic policies have been built on a “floodplain” that may well soon be tested by rising economic seas.
Cable said: “The water is now pouring through the defences after the near collapse of Northern Rock; a product of greed and reckless gambling by overpaid executives; lax, indulgent bank regulation; and a complacent Government.”
The respected economist said he has been warning Brown for the last few years of the future problems being built up by a boom powered by debt financed consumer spending, reckless lending and optimism that the housing market will continue to grow and called on the Prime Minister to take personal responsibility.
Cable said Brown’s “moralistic social democracy” is at odds with the reality of modern Britain with the “super rich” free to conduct “amoral and anti-social behaviour”, in areas such as private equity, while the poor are hounded for over-payments of benefits.
Cable told delegates the Prime Minister’s economic polices had turned the UK into “the world’s super casino for speculative investors”.
He said Brown had gone back on his promise from 1997 not to let house prices get out of control and warned that “every housing boom is followed by a crash”.
“As long as the boom has gone on, he has been able to avoid answering these questions but his day of reckoning cannot be far off,” said Cable.
Cable also attacked the Government for allowing the growth in non-domiciled status, from 80,000 to 200,000 in five years, and called on Brown to publish its 2002 report on the abuses of non-dom status which has never been published with Freedom of Information requests for it also rejected.
Cable said: “So much for social justice. St Francis of Assisi was the patron saint of the meek; St Vincent of the poor; St Gordon is the patron saint of the super rich”.