In a letter to Mr George, Bryn Sidaway, chairman of the North of England Assembly of Local Authorities, says: 'The Bank of England's reputation is based on the fact that it seeks to serve the interests of the whole nation . . . your comments - if correctly reported - have deeply damaged that reputation is this region.
'As we have suffered a series of major closures we have have been told they are the result of the turmoil in the world economy. Now it seems the truth may lie closer to home.'