Gordon Brown has announced a fire sale of $25 billion worth of state and public assets, including the Channel Tunnel, to help pay down government debt.

Among the assets to be sold off in the next two years are the Dartford Crossing and the Tote, the Prime Minister said in a speech this morning at the offices of Bloomberg financial news agency in the city.

He confirmed that the Government is to restart the privatization of the Student Loan Book, which was shelved in March because of poor market conditions.

It is also looking to sell its stake in Urenco, which operates uranium enrichment plants in Britain, Germany and the Netherlands, "subject to security issues being resolved".

But most of the total amount will be raised by encouraging local authorities to sell off assets for cash and from property sales by Whitehall departments.

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