No-one will have noticed, but today’s figures show that the UK has net foreign exchange reserves of £9.9 billion.
I beseech you in the bowels of Christ - what is the point of these? There’s almost no chance that the optimal response to any future pressure upon sterling will be to run down our reserves, and even less chance that such a policy would work. Reserves are a pointless legacy of the Bretton Woods era.
So, why not sell them off?
Sure, they only amount to £166 per person. But they are equivalent to over £14,000 for every child likely to be born this year. They would go a long way to realizing this ambition of Mr Brown’s:
I want the Child Trust Fund to ensure that at 18 every child will have some wealth from which to plan their adult future, demonstrating our determination that in tomorrow’s Britain every young person, free from poverty, has the best chance to make the most of their talents.
Of course, it would be iniquitous to privilege 2005’s cohort in this way. But there are billions of pounds of other pointless public assets that could be sold off to help future cohorts. Remember the National Asset Register?