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Page last updated at 10:57 GMT, Wednesday, 19 December 2012

UK's 'big four' banks 'too big to fail'


The big four UK banks still "too big to fail" and that gives them an unfair advantage, according to a report from the New Economics Foundation (NEF).

The foundation says that because the financial markets believe the UK government will bail out the banks before letting them go to the wall, Barclays, RBS, HSBC and Lloyds's borrowing costs are significantly reduced, giving them a £34 billion advantage.

Tony Greenham, the head of finance and business at the NEF, told Today business presenter Simon Jack that his findings show that "the markets still very much believe that the big four banks are so big that the government would always have to rescue them with taxpayers' money."

He said that creating a level playing field without taxpayer subsidies would mean enforcing "a clear, clean separation between between commercial and investment banking" as well as considering breaking the big banks up.

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