Clause 6 — Transfer of property, rights and liabilities

Part of Delegated Legislation – in the House of Commons at 7:45 pm on 21st February 2008.

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Photo of Yvette Cooper Yvette Cooper The Chief Secretary to the Treasury 7:45 pm, 21st February 2008

Let us be clear about the events, including the credit crunch in the summer, which triggered Northern Rock's particular difficulties. I agree that there is a wider question about the sustainability of the approach that Northern Rock took and its aggressive strategy. As part of our consultation paper about wider reforms to the banking system, we have also discussed the need to look more widely at issues around liquidity, not simply solvency, as part of the regulatory structure. There is obviously a wide series of issues.

The Government have already stepped in to intervene with regard to Northern Rock. The Bank of England has already stepped in to intervene by providing additional loans to Northern Rock at an appropriate point and the Government have provided guarantees. It was right that the Government should do so; it was about protecting the financial stability of the banking system as a whole, as well as dealing with depositors' interests in Northern Rock. Of course, assessments and analysis have been carried out as part of the lending and guarantees, but the exposure remains the same, as a result of taking Northern Rock into temporary public ownership. The intention at all stages is to be able to try to return the company to the private sector as rapidly as possible. We are talking simply about a temporary arrangement, and that bears on the third amendment.