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Byline: James Tapsfield

George Osborne expects to make a decision about breaking up Royal Bank of Scotland within weeks.

The Chancellor said he was looking at hiving off weaker parts of the state-controlled firm into a "bad bank" - a unit set up to contain toxic assets such as bad loans.

In an interview, he said the issue was "top of his in-tray".

Osborne added: "We are looking at the case for a bad bank and, if not a bad bank, what is the alternative strategy that really gets on top of the problems in that bank and goes on being what I want it to be, which is a bank supporting the British economy."

But he stressed the Government were not "close to the stage of being able to sell RBS shares".

"RBS was a much more complex bank," he said.

"To be fair to management past and present, it was a bank that was in a lot more trouble."

Osborne also said he was considering offering state-owned shares in Lloyds to the general public.

He added: "We are now looking actively at a retail offer for the next tranche of Lloyds shares."

The break-up of RBS was recommended by the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards chaired by Tory MP Andrew Tyrie.

Their report said that RBS were creating problems for the banking industry as a whole and for the British economy in general.

The split is also supported by Lord King, former governor of the Bank of England.


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Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Oct 20, 2013
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