U.K.'s Darling: All Options Open for Northern Rock

British finance minister Alistair Darling said on Monday that authorities would consider every option to solve the crisis at mortgage lender Northern Rock.

Speaking to BBC radio, he gave reassurances that Northern Rock savers could withdraw their money if they wanted.

"I'll consider every option," Darling said. "What I would say to people at the moment is that if they want to get their money out of the Northern Rock bank they can do it."

Shares in Northern Rock fell crashed by as much as 34% in early trade, adding to pressure on the bank's management and financial authorities to sell the business.

The troubled mortgage lender had already shed a third of its value on Friday after it issued a profit warning and admitted it had been forced to seek an emergency credit line from the Bank of England.

Darling said he would discuss the crisis gripping world credit markets with U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson later in the day but stressed Britain's economy was strong enough to
weather the storm.

"The root of the problem is in the international markets, in America in particular. In the UK our fundamental position is that we have a strong economy, low interest rates, low inflation, which we haven't had in the past and which will stand us in good stead."