Darling to banks: “Invest in small firms”

In today’s edition of the paper, The FT reports he held meetings with top British and international finance chiefs to discuss a new lending initiative that could see hundreds of millions of pounds diverted to entrepreneurs.

Banks including Barclays, HSBC, Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank have been asked to contribute between £25m and £35m, according to sources close to the meetings.

Darling is likely to want to grab a quick agreement and give details of the eye-catching plan in the pre-Budget report, which he will unveil on Wednesday.

But the chancellor could meet some stiff resistance; he and Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s pledge to slap a super-tax either on ‘excessive’ bonuses or directly onto the banks themselves has led to angry reactions in the City. 

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