Latest Issue

Mervyn turns a tidy profit

The Bank of England secretly lent huge sums to prop up broken banks. But who cares?

By Mark Hannam   January 2010

It was, said one MP, “a shocking cover-up.” Another was “outraged”; a third complained about “how many jobs you could support with all this money.” The broadsheets prominently covered the scandal. The cause of the distress? The announcement on 24th November that, in autumn 2008, the Bank of England provided emergency liquidity assistance (ELA) to the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS). These “secret loans” totalled about £60bn and were repaid by RBS in December 2008 and HBOS in January 2009.

Those acquainted with the workings of London’s wholesale money markets were unsurprised by the…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect