Lloyds sells £1.4bn SME bond

■ The government fully guaranteed £1.4bn of debt raised by Lloyds bank yesterday to put towards the Treasury’s credit easing programme. The bank will pay 1.5 per cent on the five-year bond, lower than its normal borrowing costs, but it has a duty to pass on the cost-savings to small businesses in the form of cheaper loans. It will also pay a fee to the government for participating in the programme. The scheme forms part of the Treasury’s efforts to get small firms to invest and hire.