Tottenham Hotspur’s recent £175million bailout from the Bank of England has not greeted with universal praise, cutting against the general mood of gratitude from businesses in respect of financial assistance from the State to British companies. One gets the sense that these elite loan facilities are perceived as ‘a bridge too far’, for some.
Quoted by the Financial Times, Dame Margaret Hodge was clearly livid.
“…absolutely scandalous that so many large overseas companies have tapped up the UK taxpayer while handing out dividends to shareholders”. This is a flagrant abuse of public money. [Chancellor] Rishi Sunak was supposed to stop this shameless behaviour but it seems his restrictions were too little, too late.”
Whilst this sounds noble enough at first glance, THFC, like fellow Bank of England borrowers BASF, maybe headquartered overseas, but their business activities are unquestionably in the UK.
BASF said the company had “…a tangible presence in the UK with eight production sites, four office locations and three labs with a staff count of 834. These operations benefit the UK.”
Tottenham has over 500 non-playing staff working in Haringey, and the money was not to be spent on footballers. THFC is the hub of several billion already ploughed into N17 in terms of both rail and housing infrastructure.
A few things here. One, these are elite lending facilities, only offered to businesses that have qualified after many years of trading. Two, these are commercial loans and have to be repaid.
Lastly, it is a curious business that Ms Hodge Labour Party member would involve themselves in calling out financial irresponsibility. The broadcaster Jeremy Vine, who himself is left-leaning, notably derided the Labour Party’s last election campaign, which was heavily loaded with giveaways.
“Free broadband, free tuition fees, free prescriptions, free hospital parking, free dental check-ups, free rail travel to under 16s, Free beer?”The Daily Express
Labour lost the last general election by the biggest margin in nearly 100 years.
Whilst I’m absolutely no Levy fan, there’s nothing to see here Ms Hodge.