MP attacks government over £7 billion gold loss
MP clashed with a senior Labour politician in the House of Commons
this week over the sale of Britain's gold reserves.
Heathcoat-Amory demanded an apology from Harriet Harman, deputising
for the Prime Minister, over the $11 billion (£7.2bn) loss
caused by selling tons of gold reserves at rock bottom prices
when the value has since quadrupled.
Mr Heathcoat-Amory told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "When Labour
won the 1997 General Election, the new chancellor Gordon Brown
started selling off gold from the Bank of England reserves."
all, 400 tons were sold at an average price of $275 per ounce.
The price today is some $1,130 per ounce, which is more than four
"In monetary value, the difference between what the gold
was sold for and what it would be worth now is nearly $11 billion."
Burnham MP says Mr Brown was warned about the risks at the time
of the sale as Mr Heathcoat-Amory, who was then Shadow Chief Secretary
to the Treasury, and Francis Maude, who was Shadow Chancellor
of the Exchequer, issued a statement in January 2000 questioning
government sold another 310 tons of gold after that at even lower
prices - it is always dangerous when people with no commercial
experience try their hand at playing world markets. It is inexcusable
when they do it with our money. Gordon Brown, now Prime Minister,
lost $11billion by pressing ahead with the sale of our gold reserves
despite all the warnings and advice to the contrary."
Harman, who is Leader of the House of Commons, told Wednesday's
debate: "We will take our responsibility seriously, and our
responsibility is to see this country out of recession and into
recovery. I think it is disappointing that the right hon. Gentleman
should not accept and support the fact that it is right sometimes
for Governments to apologise for what has been done in history."