Under the nationalization approach, the taxpayer should see its outstanding loans to Northern Rock repaid in full, with interest and that the business can be returned to the private sector as financial markets stabilize. There were two private proposals, one from Virgin Group and one in-house bid from the bank's management team. Neither bid, concluded the Prime Minister delivered value on the dollar for taxpayers. Under the plan, $49 billion dollars must be paid back to the taxpayer within three years. The government repeatedly insisted a private sale was its preferred option. However, after five months of intense speculation about the future of Britain's most public casualty of the global credit crunch, Brown said that nationalization was the best choice until market conditions improve. According to Alistair Darling, the private proposals involved risks for taxpayers and significant government subsidy. Both also involved bidders paying below the market rate while the government continued to provide guarantees and financing.
Now the plan finds itself under the scrutiny of the Economist who has opined from the start that nationalization was not the proper solution. Northern Rock would remain nationalized until the current financial climate improves.