Interest rates cut 0.5 per cent

Only this morning Alistair Darling was saying that he couldn't comment on interest rates as they were set independently by the Bank of England, although this must be seen as a politically influenced move.

While visiting a factory yesterday and delevering a speech George Bush had signalled that co-ordinated international action would be taken. Presumably plans will develop further when the G7 join him in Washington this weekend to discuss the way forward on dealing with the banking crisis.

This means UK interest rates go from 5% to 4.5%, US from 2% to 1.5% and European from 4.25% to 3.75%.