Ron Sandler, executive chairman of Northern Rock, is finalising plans to make 2,000 staff at the troubled bank redundant within three months. Daily Telegaph

The bank is expected to unveil its plan next week.

The redundancies will be a huge blow for the North East and are yet another headache for Alistair Darling, the beleaguered Chancellor, and Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister.

The vast majority of the redundancies — some of which are expected to be compulsory — will affect staff in key Labour constituencies in the North East.

Although Northern Rock had been expected to make up to one third of its 6,000 staff redundant as it halved its £110bn mortgage book, it was thought that the job cuts would be spread over three years.