Osborne Defends U.K. Intervention in State-Owned RBS, Times Says

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne defended the right of the U.K. government to intervene in the running of state-owned Royal Bank of Scotland Plc, the Times reported, citing an event hosted by the newspaper.

“I represent the taxpayer,” Osborne said yesterday, according to the London-based newspaper. “It’s a very important bank for our country, it’s the largest lender to small business in our country, so of course we’re interested in the health of the bank.”

Osborne was responding to a suggestion at the same conference by opposition Labour Treasury spokesman Ed Balls that the government had mishandled the removal of former Chief Executive Officer Stephen Hester last month.

To a suggestion that he was pushing the bank to play a greater role in the economy, the newspaper reported Osborne as saying people “have to understand that I’m running not just a Finance Ministry but an Economics Ministry.”

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