Northern Rock revealed yesterday the number of borrowers behind with repayments had jumped sharply since the UK mortgage lender was nationalised. Financial Times, the Times, Daily Telegraph, The Independent.

The number of mortgages where payments were behind by three months or more jumped to 0.95% of its outstanding loan book, almost double the figure of 0.57% at the end of December.

Ron Sandler, the lender’s executive chairman, said the increased arrears were partly a result of the bank’s decision to change the way it accounts for mortgages in arrears. They also reflect Northern Rock’s efforts to shrink its loan book by persuading customers to refinance their mortgages with other lenders.