Three British high street banks yesterday got their first taste of public ownership as Gordon Brown blocked their dividends and slashed their executive bonuses as part of a £37bn partnationalisation that saw the departure of four of their leaders.

The bail-out is expected to leave the government with a majority stake in Royal Bank of Scotland and holding more than 43 per cent of the merged HBOS and Lloyds TSB.

Barclays, which avoided the part-nationalisation while promising to raise £6.6bn privately, announced it too will not pay a final dividend this year.

Financial Times