My hon. Friend makes an important point about trying to quantify the extent of the liabilities that the taxpayer is taking on. Dredging the recesses of my memory, I recall from my accountancy training that there are accounting standards that examine the extent to which a potential liability could crystallise and therefore how one should account for those liabilities. What is more likely to transpire should be provided for, and what is less likely to transpire should not be provided for.
Part of the challenge that we face is that one of the potentially largest elements of the package is the asset protection scheme, which will insure a portfolio of bank assets. Work is going on to try to quantify the extent of the package and what guarantees the Government will enter into with the banks, so we are yet to find out the true scope of the commitments that we are likely to enter into on behalf of the taxpayer in trying to resolve some of the issues associated with the banking crisis.
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