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Labour challenged over lending

The opposition Liberal Democrats will challenge the government today to reveal how much money part-nationalised Royal Bank of Scotland and rival Lloyds have lent since a state bailout 12 months ago. The issue threatens to embarrass the Labour Party before an election expected in May if the figures show the banks have failed to meet pledges to boost lending to home buyers and companies by a promised £39bn. Opinion polls show Labour narrowing the lead held by the opposition Conservatives, raising the possibility of no party winning overall control and giving the Liberal Democrats their strongest political hand in decades.