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Banks: Finance

Volume 489: debated on Thursday 19 March 2009

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the cost to the public purse was of the (a) legal and (b) accountancy advice received by his Department in respect of (i) the break-up of Bradford and Bingley, (ii) the merger and recapitalisation of Lloyds TSB and HBOS and (iii) the recapitalisation of the Royal Bank of Scotland. (261589)

The Treasury has received legal advice from Government and commercial lawyers, and financial advice from accountancy firms and investment banks.

The Treasury’s external adviser fees will be shared between the banks participating in the Government’s recapitalisation. Those costs related to the nationalisation of Bradford and Bingley will be fully recovered from Bradford and Bingley.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the relationship between his Department, UK Financial Investments Ltd and Jerseyco referred to in the bank recapitalisation agreements is; and who regulates Jerseyco’s activities in the UK. (264110)

Neither HM Treasury nor UKFI has any contractual arrangement or other direct relationship with the companies referred to as “Jerseyco” in the recapitalisation agreements.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he has had with banks in receipt of recapitalisation or asset-based loan guarantees on the future use of (a) direct tax avoidance practices and (b) special purpose vehicles by such banks. (264458)

We cannot comment on affairs of individual taxpayers because of taxpayer confidentiality. We vigorously challenge tax avoidance—through the courts if necessary—including where the taxpayer is partly owned by the Government and we expect banks to fully comply with their tax obligations. That is why the Chancellor of the Exchequer has asked HM Revenue and Customs to publish shortly a draft code of practice on taxation for the banking sector—so that banks will comply not just with the letter but the spirit of the law.

Further information about the undertakings made by participating banks will be available when the detailed terms of entry into the Asset Protection Scheme have been finalised.