Base calls for banks to respond

Mark Stephens, chief executive at Base, said: “Clearing banks need to start lending to each other and, most importantly, British businesses once again. Banks cannot sit on their hands for ever. They are in the business of lending and, with the support now being offered by the government, they need to start injecting capital and confidence back into the UK economy.

“The next few weeks will be decisive in determining whether the current banking crisis can be stemmed or whether it leads to long-term recession. If we want to avoid economic meltdown we need not just governments, but central banks and clearing banks to be willing to do their bit. They need to understand that they are now under the spotlight and the nation expects them to respond.”