Banking (Special Provisions) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 1:30 pm on 21st February 2008.

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Photo of Lord Newby Lord Newby Spokesperson in the Lords, Treasury 1:30 pm, 21st February 2008

I thank all noble Lords who have spoken in the debate. I say to the noble Lord, Lord Whitty, that my concern is not that as a result of the Northern Rock nationalisation young couples or anyone else will find it difficult to obtain mortgages. We are still in a situation where many mortgage lenders are lending imprudently. In any event, the share of the market that Northern Rock had and will have in future means that there is a lot of the market to go to if you are looking to take out a mortgage.

The noble Lord, Lord Forsyth, stressed the desirability of producing a business plan or at least some indication of the basis on which Northern Rock should be managed going forward. It is a major shortcoming of the way in which the Government have dealt with the issue that such a statement has not been produced by now. Noble Lords will recall that Ron Sandler was appointed in a shadow capacity before Christmas to look at Northern Rock. No doubt people in the Treasury have been working night and day since then. The kind of broad statement of principles that we are seeking could have been produced by this point. The fact that we do not have one, even though we are now promised one in the near future, is a great shame.

In Amendment No. 3, we asked for regular reports to the House. The noble Lord has gone a considerable way towards meeting that requirement. On our second amendment, I will read carefully what the noble Lord said, because he said an awful lot. I think that the word "prudent" appeared, but I am not sure how often the word "risk" appeared and what other words appeared around it. It may be that between now and Report we have the chance to look at that in more detail and decide what we want to do at that stage. At this stage, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.