RBS share give away plan
George Osborne has moved to cool speculation that the Government could give away its shares in the Royal Bank of Scotland to taxpayers.
Both the Independent and Daily Mail this morning reported a government source claiming the Chancellor had concluded continued taxpayer ownership of RBS was politically "untenable”, and was considering giving shares worth up to £400 to every taxpayer in Britain.
But Mr Osborne said this morning the reports were “premature”, given the current low value of RBS.
“It’s just a premature discussion about what to do with the shares,” he told Sky News.
“When we get to the point where they are worth what the country paid for – Gordon Brown bought them at a price that they’re not worth today – and we’ve got to get the Royal Bank of Scotland to a point where it is worth what the taxpayer paid and then we can have a, no doubt big, national discussion about what to do with the shares and how to return it to the private sector.”
The Chancellor is also calling for new international rules to prevent multinational companies shifting profits and losses between nations to reduce their tax liability.
Britain, Germany and France will study ways to crack down on corporate tax avoidance.
Mr Osborne is attending a G20 meeting of finance ministers in Moscow, where he described tax avoidance as an “international issue that requires international action”.
Outlining the aims of the scheme, he told Sky News:
“The big international companies that may have their headquarters in one country, shops in many other countries, may locate their so-called intellectual property in another country altogether, perhaps a low-tax base like Bermuda or the Cayman Islands – they’ll find that a more difficult arrangement because the international tax rules will change and they will have to pay taxes much more where the profits are generated.”