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Ed Balls MP, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, responding to the details of the project Merlin agreement said: 

“No wonder George Osborne didn’t give me a copy of the full Merlin agreement before his House of Commons statement and only gave me a copy of his statement 10 minutes in advance - because the Chancellor’s cosy deal with the banks is unravelling by the hour. 

 “The small print of the agreement has a clear get-out clause which allows the banks to do whatever they wish to enhance the interests of their shareholders. 

“As for the toothless agreements on lending, Vince Cable himself said only a year ago that gross lending targets completely let the banks off the hook. And as representatives from small and medium sized businesses have said this announcement does not go far enough. 

“The unanswered questions for George Osborne are mounting. Why won’t he enact the legislation on pay and remuneration transparency which Labour passed last year following Sir David Walker’s review? 

“And why does he refuse to adopt Labour’s plan to repeat last year’s £3.5 billion bank bonus tax, as well as the bank levy, in order to help create the jobs and growth we badly need this year to kick-start the stalled recovery?”

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