|Brown to sell port of Dover to the French Posted by Ian at 6 28 PM on Saturday, February 6|
GORDON Brown is planning to sell Britain’s busiest port ... to the French!
The port of Dover, which nestles beneath its famous white cliffs, is being flogged off by the government in a desperate bid to raise some cash.
After resisting the Germans during World War Two and the French under Napoleon, Gordon Brown has given in and plans to flog the port to the French.
And to make matters even worse, the News of the World can reveal the client being lined up to buy Dover is part of the French government.
The leadng bidder is the Nord-pas-de-Calais regional council, which also owns the port of Calais.
Industry sources say Dover port could fetch up to £500 million.
The government is being advised by blue chip merchant bank Rothschild.
And a source at the bank told the News of the World: “This is an exciting sale.
“And selling Dover to Calais is a very logical move as that is where most of the business is directed.
“Dover made an operating profit of £15.1m in 2008 on revenue of £60.8m.
“Now it is seeking £400m to expand, as it anticipates a doubling in freight traffic by 2040."
But local people are furious at the decision - and are planning a series of protests.
Tory Party prospective MP for Dover Charles Elphicke told the News of the World: "Dover is the English border. We stood proud in defending our nation in times past.
“We are the nation's front line. In trying to sell off our port and the White Cliffs, it's clear Gordon Brown has no sense of the history of our nation or the pride of our town.
“How dare he consider selling it all off to the French?
"The people of Dover have a clear message for him and his Labour Government - hands off our port, hands off the English border, hands off the White Cliffs. He can take a hike."
But the Prime Minister is desperate for the cash.
The British channel rail link and Dover, Europe's busiest ferry port, are in the vanguard of Brown's £16 billion privatisation plan, as he aims to halve Britain's budget deficit in 4 years.
The government is also looking at selling the Dartford toll-road crossing the Thames, its student-loan book and its stake in uranium processor Urenco, and is reviving long-running plans to sell Britain's largest bookmaker, the tote.
"There is lots of interest among investors for these assets," said David Abbott, a director in KPMG's corporate finance team.
Overseen by Standard Life Chairman Gerry Grimstone, the plan targets £3 billion from asset sales and £13 billion from selling government property in the next two years, followed by a rolling review of other assets.
Grimstone was a key architect of Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's 1980s privatisation of firms such as British Telecom, now BT Group Plc.