Royal Bank of Scotland is working on a government-backed plan to hive off all of its 312 RBS-branded branches in England and Wales, in a radical move to satisfy Brussels state aid authorities.

Officials close to the negotiations say the plan – mediated by the Treasury – is well advanced and is the favoured proposal being considered by Neelie Kroes, EU competition commissioner, though she is thought to want to force RBS to go further.

Kroes has demanded substantial disposals by RBS to compensate for the billions of pounds of taxpayer support it has received and its planned participation in the Treasury’s toxic asset insurance scheme.

Financial Times, The Times