HBOS takeover threatens jobs, warns MSP

A Scottish MSP has warned that HBOS shareholders\' rubber-stamping of the new Lloyds Banking Group on Friday has set the scene for the loss of up to 40,000 jobs.

MSP Alex Neil says that the jobs are at risk as a result of shareholders approving Lloyds TSB’s takeover bid for HBOS.

Neil and the Merger Action Group have been campaigning against the takeover since it was announced in September, saying that the move poses a threat to employees in Scotland.

Neil says: “This is a highly regrettable result. Chancellor Alistair Darling and Prime Minister Gordon Brown should be ashamed of them-selves for presiding over the unnecessary end of one of Scotland’s old- est institutions.

“Instead of offering a level playing field and seeking alternatives to save jobs, Brown and Darling have consigned up to 40,000 employees to redundancy.”

He adds: “Tens of thousands of families up and down the land will suffer as a result.”

A spokesman for MAG says the move not only threatens jobs but also Scotland’s heritage.

He says: “It is disappointing when an important and respected Scottish institution disappears, especially one that has a long and proud history stretching back more than 300 years.”

The vote in favour of the takeover came on the back of a trading statement from HBOS in which the lender revealed an estimated £8bn in write-downs in the 11 months to November 30 2008.

Eric Daniels, group chief executive of Lloyds TSB, says: “We are pleased that HBOS shareholders have given a strong vote of confidence to the proposed acquisition of the company.

“They will be in a position to share in the benefits as we create the country’s leading financial institution.”

He adds: “I believe the enlarged group will help to bring stability to the financial services sector, ensure strong competition and create greater value for Lloyds TSB and HBOS shareholders.”