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"Lenders of the last resort"

Betsan Powys | 12:24 UK time, Monday, 19 January 2009

Remember those slogans?

How about "Fluent in finance"?

Then there was "Come and talk to the listening bank" and "The bank that likes to yes". Now, granted, "We're the lenders of the last resort" wouldn't make it onto anyone's hoardings let alone win any financial industry PR prizes but then again, it's probably the most honest of the lot.

The copyright belongs to Nick Ainger MP on Radio Wales responding, as a member of the Treasury Committee, to a host of questions about this morning's multi-billion pound package of measures to get banks lending again.

Will it be enough? What are the chances it works this time? Just how much will you be prepared to lend? What if the banks take the money and give the government the run-around like they did last time? When and how does pay-back come for taxpayers who've lost count of how many noughts they're owed by now?

To every question Mr Ainger had an answer but they all came to the same conclusion: that offering loan guarantees amounting to billions of pounds is now vital.

Whatever the questions you may have yourself about the amount it's costing you to get the economy moving - questions you may have been aiming with some force at the radio this morning - the message was that these measures must be taken now if things aren't about to get a whole lot worse, not just for the banks but for all those companies who rely on them to keep going.

Unprecedented? A gamble? Yes, he admitted but vital. Within hours the Conservatives were already pointing to new European Commission economic forecasts which suggest the UK could face the worst recession of any major EU economy. George Osborne had taken a look at the government's plan and seen nothing 'grand' in it.

But Nick Ainger was clear: today's announcement is simply necessary for a government that's found it's had to adopt a new slogan - "the lender of the last resort."

Meanwhile Welsh Labour are working on another slogan, one that's short, to the point and aimed at the three Welsh Conservative MPs: losers. Why did David Cameron not use the opportunity of today's reshuffle to promote a Welsh MP to the position of Shadow Welsh Secretary they wonder? Ken Clarke's back but Cheryl Gillan, MP for Chesham and Amersham in Buckinghamshire, remains in post. No press release yet but in my bones, I feel another "Cameron snub to Wales" missive is on its way.

And let's not forget the Welsh Liberal Democrats and their new leader who's in London today to meet Nick Clegg. Kirsty Williams will be photographed standing alongside Roger Williams MP, Mark Williams MP, Stephen Williams MP and Baroness Williams of Crosby.

Can you see the headline coming?

"Williams the Conquerors".


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