Old Lady could offer covert support under new rule

The British chancellor wants to introduce new rules allowing the Bank of England to give lender-of-last-resort support in secret.

In a consultation document setting out the government's regulatory response to the run on Northern Rock, Alistair Darling, the chancellor, has proposed removing the Bank's requirement to publish weekly returns and other reporting requirements that would disclose operations.

"Recent events have suggested that there may be special circumstances where, if possible, a