RBS and its staff paid £3.9bn to the Treasury in taxes last year, the bank has revealed.
The amount is almost double the UK?tax bills paid by other banks like Barclays and Goldman Sachs, because of the bank’s size and its concentration in the UK.
The high costs of its taxes is despite the fact that RBS did not pay any corporation tax because it made a loss.
The bank’s profits were hit by staying in the government’s asset protection scheme (APS), an expensive insurance scheme for certain assets.
RBS must pay £2.5bn to exit the programme, minus any fees it has already paid, and has therefore opted to stay in the APS until the fees it has paid are equal to the exit penalty. These fees alone cost the bank £700m last year.
Chief executive Stephen Hester echoed calls by others, including Barclays chief Bob Diamond, chancellor George Osborne and JP Morgan Chase chief executive Jamie Dimon, by saying that the time for banker-bashing is over.
“We have to move on from the crisis, from what went wrong and the recriminations around that,” he said. “Banks have a huge role as exporters, employers and taxpayers in the UK.” He added that it was time to start seeing banks “as economic engines” rather than as liabilities.