Which interest rate would you rather borrow at – 4% or 0.6%? It sounds like a moronic question. Not if you’re the Chancellor, it’s not. In launching pensionerbonds yesterday which pay 4% pa over three years, he is choosing to borrow at a much higher rate than the 0.6% charged by the gilt market.
This is costing the tax-payer money. If, as is likely, all of the £10bn bonds on offer are bought, the government will be paying almost £300m a year more in interest than it would if it borrowed in the gilt market*.