According to the Daily Telegraph our loans to Northern Rock are more risky than first thought.

Mr Sandler admitted: “If house prices decline 5pc, 10pc, 15pc, it would certainly put a great deal of stress on how we would deliver the plan. I don’t want to pretend it is without risk and I don’t think we should take anything for granted at this stage.”

Mr Sandler also sounded a more cautious note about Northern Rock’s mortgage book, which the Treasury has declared “good quality”. He described it as just “adequate” compared with peers.

Not quite the rosy scenario we were told at the time. And speaking of time, this really is a time bomb sitting under the Government. If the plans get delayed, and delayed with some lack of clarity about the future outcome, then any last remaining shreds of economic competence will be further shot to ribbons.

Maybe Sandler is being over cautious, but I smell trouble ahead for Chancellor Darling because if the Rock chief is hoping for assistance from the economy to help him fulfil his plan then this report from The Times does not sound promising.