The biggest nationalisation of modern times will be announced today with a £50billion state rescue of Britain's crumbling High Street banks.
The Government will take the drastic step amid fears that without the injection of taxpayers' money some of the most recognisable names in banking could vanish in days, if not hours.
The historic intervention will signal a new era for the banks and raises the spectre of the giant firms falling under the control of politicians and civil servants.
The Treasury is expected to buy stakes in the Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays, Lloyds TSB and Halifax Bank of Scotland.
Though Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling are desperate not to present the move as a crisis measure, it was clear that another day of panic and chaos on the stock market had left them with no other option.
The alternative was to allow the Royal Bank of Scotland - one of the world's ten largest banks with a £1,900billion balance sheet - to collapse, dragging down large sections of the economy with it.
Let Them Fail Is My View. The US bailout has made not a iota of difference to what is still going on over there, what makes us believe that spending £50 billion of OUR money will make a difference here. Darling states that the preferential shares used to fund this bailout will be OURS the tax payers who will be in line for a good dividend when all this is over. Don't believe a word of it if the banks do survive then it will be the government that will hang on to any dividend and you won't see a penny !