October 2, 2008
France heaped pressure on Gordon Brown last night by floating an ambitious plan for a €300 billion (£237 billion) bailout fund to rescue crippled banks across Europe.
A d v e r t i s e m e n t
As the world held its breath on the fate of America’s $700 billion bank bailout plan, President Sarkozy was seeking the backing of European leaders for his own lifeboat.
Mr Brown also faced demands for action from British banks, furious that the Irish Republic’s unilateral guarantee of all bank savings on Tuesday was robbing them of precious deposits. The British Bankers’ Association, which represents high street banks, said that the move was anti-competitive and that it was raising the issue with Dublin. Some banks would like to see the UK respond with its own explicit guarantee.
The Prime Minister has begun to set up an emergency committee to take charge of Britain’s response to the crisis. The body will be similar to Cobra, which is composed of ministers and government officials and meets regularly during crises such as last summer’s floods. Its secretariat will be run from the Cabinet Office.