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MP attacks HBOS Network Data sale block

An MP has accused HBOS of risking 500 broker jobs after it blocked the sale of Network Data to the Lighthouse Group last week.

MP for the Isle of Wight Andrew Turner brought the issue of the Network Data sale to the Commons on Thursday after a complaint from one of his constituents, KISS Financial Services owner David Tarry. Turner said he wanted answers over the handling of the proposed sale of the network to the Lighthouse Group.

Turner told the Commons: “HBOS prevented a friendly takeover bid for Network Data, which could have safeguarded jobs at 500 mortgage brokers throughout the UK, including at KISS Financial Services on the Isle of Wight.

“The taxpayer largely owns HBOS and saving jobs should be a priority. Why did not the bank facilitate the friendly takeover rather than hoarding taxpayers’ money and putting jobs at risk?”

Last week Bank of Scotland reportedly blocked a proposed acquisition of Network Data by Lighthouse when it failed to release security over the company by the deadline. A source told Money Marketing that HBOS believed it could get more money for the company than Lighthouse was offering.

The Minister for Trade, Development and Consumer Affairs Gareth Thomas said he would consider the case and then write to Turner.

However, Thomas said: “We expect players in the financial services community, who have received Government help, to continue to operate commercially, as they have done normally in the private sector. We do not, therefore, interfere in individual commercial decisions.”

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