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The Government refuses to say how much it is spending on individual banks

Lord Jopling, a Conservative peer and former minister, has asked the Government how much it is spending on bailing out banks:

"Lord Jopling asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How much public money has been made available to (a) the Royal Bank of Scotland, and (b) HBOS, in the past six months. [HL6522]

The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): RBS Group plc, Lloyds TSB plc and HBOS Group plc have announced the terms on which they are participating in the Government's recapitalisation scheme. Details are set out in the placing and open offer agreements that were placed in the Libraries of both Houses of Parliament on 18 November.

These banks are also eligible to use the Government's credit guarantee scheme (CGS). By the end of December, in total, participating banks will have accessed some £100 billion of funding under the CGS. Figures for individual banks are confidential."

Should these figures really be confidential? If banks are to be nationalised - in whole or part - does not the public have a right to know how much money we are stumping up for each of them? Shouldn't we be able to assess whether a bank is getting too much?

Would someone care to explain why commercial confidentiality should apply here?


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