My Lords, I have here a letter from Unite the Union representing the workforce at Northern Rock. As can well be imagined, the workforce is extremely concerned about its future. It points out that at its height Northern Rock had 6,500 employees. It also ran the Northern Rock Foundation with £200 million of investment in the area. Those in the workforce are concerned not only about their own jobs but about the general impact on the situation in the north-east where there is a very high level of unemployment and where people have great difficulty in getting alternative work. In any situation in regard to restructurings and so on, it should be a major concern for the Government to ensure that whatever decisions are taken do not worsen the unemployment situation in the area. Everything possible should be done to ensure that employment is kept at a reasonable level. As regards Northern Rock, that does not seem to be the situation.
I am very glad that my noble friend on the Front Bench raised mutualisation because it seemed to me that that is a way in which it might be possible to maintain a much higher level of employment in the area. It is very important to bear in mind concern not just about the financial stability, important though that is, but what happens to employment in the area and the general standing in the area of not only the financial situation but of the economic situation generally.