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Has the UK government blocked the closure of Cheltenham and Gloucester?

Only two months ago Lloyds bank was adamant that all 164 branches of the Cheltenham and Gloucester would close as the bank sought to reduce costs and slim down for the future. However, Lloyds bank has today released a surprise statement confirming that the company is going to revisit the potential closure of the Cheltenham and Gloucester branches and until the review is complete the operation will be trading as normal.

There is a feeling that potential closure of the Cheltenham and Gloucester, after the £1.8 billion acquisition in 1995, was a step too far and maybe behind the scenes the UK government has become more involved. While there has been no confirmation or denial of any involvement by the government it is known that the potential loss of 1200 jobs had not gone down well within government circles, bearing in mind that Lloyds bank is 43% owned by the UK taxpayer after receiving billions of pounds of taxpayer funding.

There is a feeling that the government may well be taking a more hands-on approach regarding the likes of Lloyds bank and Royal Bank of Scotland, both of which were supported by UK taxpayers, although Royal Bank of Scotland's decision to introduce multimillion pound bonuses for new highflying staff was surprising.

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