Britains's biggest banks defied Gordon Brown last night by failing to pass on the lowest interest rates for more than 50 years.

Halifax, the country’s largest mortgage lender, said it was passing on just a fraction of the Bank of England’s one percentage point cut to its customers, despite having received £11.5bn in taxpayers’ money in a government bail-out.

Nationwide, the biggest building society, said it would only pass on two thirds of yesterday’s cut, which took base rates from three per cent to two per cent.

Daily Telegraph, The Times