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Darling to announce bail-out plan this afternoon

Chancellor Alistair Darling may announce Treasury plans to take shareholdings in the biggest high street banks if the financial markets worsen today.

Darling is making a statement to the House of Common at 3.30pm this afternoon about the Treasury’s plans to give the banks billion of pounds in exchange for shares.

The chancellor hinted at the plans on Sunday when he said was “looking at some pretty big steps which we would not take in ordinary times”. According to press reports, the bailout scheme would mean individual banks need not explain how the money is spent, but taxpayers could stand to profit when the banks recover.

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