Does Yvette Know Her Granite from Her Elbow?

The Granite securitisation vehicle is causing the government a lot of confusion, it may even cause the LibDems to back out of supporting the government’s nationalisation of the Crock. Yvette Cooper stated in the Commons debate definitively that Granite is not covered by government guarantees. “It is not being taken into public ownership and it is not, in fact, owned by Northern Rock, so it is not part of the taxpayer’s exposure and has never been so.”

Compare and contrast that with the Treasury statement of 18 December, 2007: HM Treasury today confirms that the guarantee arrangements for Northern Rock plc described in HM Treasury’s announcements dated 20 and 21 September 2007 and 9 October 2007 are being extended, at the request of Northern Rock plc, to the following unsubordinated wholesale obligations, whether now existing or arising in the future... all obligations of Northern Rock plc to make payments on the repurchase of mortgages under the documentation for the “Granite” securitisation programme.

That seems pretty clear. Looks like the lawyers are going to get rich out of this…

UPDATE : Something of a stewards inquiry in the comments as to the nature of the obligation – though no one has argued that there is no obligation – except Yvette when she said “it is not part of the taxpayer’s exposure”. Like Guido said, the lawyers could have some fees out of the argument.

UPDATE II : Northern Rock’s Annual Report 2006, Note 22, Page 86 states that the Granite group of companies “are regarded as legal subsidiaries under UK companies legislation”. Odd because they aren’t really structured that way.




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