Banking (Special Provisions) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:15 pm on 21st February 2008.

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Photo of Lord Eatwell Lord Eatwell Labour 3:15 pm, 21st February 2008

I reinforce what my noble friend Lord Desai said about the objections that noble Lords opposite are making to particular policies being pursued by Northern Rock at this time. I really do not think that it is the role of this House or the Government to attempt to micromanage what Northern Rock does. I had understood that the Official Opposition were very much in favour of the bank being managed at arm's length. If so, surely they should not be second-guessing what particular products or behaviour the bank displays. They should accept the commitment made by my noble friend on the Front Bench that the OFT will report regularly on the impact of Northern Rock's activities on competition in the banking industry. The OFT is an organisation that has the skills and will have the detailed information to assess the impact on competition. We are just cherry-picking here; we are not being serious. We are just making arbitrary arguments, not doing the detailed investigation and careful study of the facts that the OFT will be able to do.