Cable calls for more transparency on HBOS

BUSINESS secretary Vince Cable has called for more information to be published about the disastrous merger of Lloyds and Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS), which saw the combined bank require a £37bn bailout.

Speaking to City A.M., Cable suggested that those who were in charge when the merger went ahead should play a major role in getting more information into the public domain because the current government does not have the power to release it.

He was speaking after Lord Myners, the former City minister, called for a public inquiry into the ill-fated deal.

“If Lord Myners, who was responsible at the time, thinks there is important material not available for the public then I certainly support his wish for it to be made public,” the business secretary said.

Cable has previously refused to publish a dossier of documents on the merger because he would have to flout the convention that new governments do not reveal secret documents sealed by previous administrations.

But he cautioned that no-one should expect a report on HBOS similar to the 470-page behemoth on the failure of RBS.

“There is a big difference between the HBOS and RBS story,” he said. “Parliament did vote to approve the HBOS merger. Although I and my colleagues voted against it, there’s been a degree of public scrutiny that was not the case with RBS.”

His backing for more transparency follows the revelation that Lloyds’ former management is to be sued by its US shareholders.

Lloyds declined to comment.