Barclays has shunned the Government’s insurance scheme for toxic assets after deciding it would “not be in the interests” of investors and customers.

The bank – the last of the remaining independent British lending giants alongside HSBC – elected to forgo its right to take part in the Asset Protection Scheme ahead of today’s deadline.

Its decision comes after the Financial Services Authority gave the bank a clean bill of health after carrying out exhaustive stress testing on its balance sheet. Barclays chief executive John Varley said the bank had 'looked carefully at the economics of participation' in the scheme, in which banks pay the Treasury to insure their riskiest assets.

Daily Telegraph