Northern Rock is to embark on a £14bn mortgage sales drive to resuscitate Britain’s sluggish housing market, fuelled by a hefty injection of fresh government funding for the state-owned lender to be announced today.

The Newcastle-based lender will split into a 'good bank/bad bank' structure, allowing it to lend about £5bn of new mortgages in 2009 and £9bn from 2010, depending on market demand and funding, the government said last night.

Alistair Darling, the chancellor, will present the move as an effort by the government to help responsible, hard-working families get mortgages, arguing that even those with a 20 per cent deposit are struggling to get finance.

Financial Times, The Independent, The BBC