“It is obviously right that British retail banking becomes more competitive in order to stop the continual ripping off of customers.
“But there’s no justification for a rapid sell off of state assets in the current depressed environment when the taxpayer will get a very poor deal.
“This is a long-term project and the most important priorities are to make sure banks lend to good customers, especially businesses, in order to stave off deepening recession and growing unemployment and that the taxpayer gets value for money.
“What is particularly worrying is the indication that Lloyds is trying to wriggle out of its agreement to maintain lending to good business customers. If it achieves its objectives this would be an appalling example of the short-term interests of banks being put ahead of national interests.”
It should be noted that the Swiss government made a profit of over 20% when it returned its shares in UBS to the private sector.