I do not have a particular view on the mechanism with which these competition issues should be addressed. However, I am puzzled by the strength of people's feelings that there are real risks in this. Here we have Britain's wonderful, internationally competitive, innovative banking sector up against an old-fashioned dinosaur nationalised industry with a badly tarnished brand image. How can anyone fail to compete with that?
The argument just put by the noble Lord, Lord Naseby, seems to me to reinforce this point. Despite the government guarantees, Northern Rock is having to offer higher interest rates than anybody else in the market just to get the money coming in to it. So it seems to me that these fears are mostly a chimera which should be swept aside at the earliest possible moment.