The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Lloyds TSB are to sell off hundreds of high street branches as part of major changes in the British banking sector. Having been bailed out by the government, the banks have been ordered by the European Commission to sell off a total of nearly one thousand outlets in order to maintain competition levels. RBS is to put 318 branches up for sale, with Lloyds set to sell on more than 600.Chancellor Alistair Darling told the BBC that the deal would benefit the British public. He commented: "I believe what we have here is a better deal for the taxpayer. It is better in the long run to get private money because at the end of the day, the government does not want to be in the business of running banks." Lloyds has also confirmed that it is to pay the government £2.5 billion in order to avoid joining the Asset Protection Scheme, the provision of state insurance for old toxic loans.
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