Sale of Northern Rock plc
Following the Treasury statement on the sale of Northern Rock plc to Virgin Money, Eleanor Laing welcomes the benefits it will bring to Northern Rock’s savers and employees, and to the north-east in general.
Mrs Eleanor Laing (Epping Forest) (Con): In contrast to the Opposition’s blind prejudice against the private sector, does the Minister agree that Sir Richard Branson’s undertaking that there will be no compulsory redundancies and no branch closures in the next three years shows that Virgin Money is a decent company that will bring benefits to Northern Rock’s savers and employees, and to the north-east generally?
Mr Hoban: My hon. Friend is absolutely right. What is impressive about Virgin Money has been the way it has sought to engage with stakeholders in the north-east and to understand the importance of Northern Rock not just to the employees but to the wider community in the north-east. It has put forward a business plan that seeks to focus its operations in Gosforth in a way that will help to protect and grow the operation there. That is why the news of Northern Rock’s sale to Virgin Money has been greeted positively by most people, but, sadly, not by those on the Benches opposite.