UK chancellor plays down claims over RBS share giveaway plans

Chancellor George Osborne has played down claims of plans to give British taxpayers up to £400 in Royal Bank of Scotland shares before the next election.

According to the chancellor who spoke to Sky News at a G20 meeting in Moscow, it was too early to consider handing out shares and returning the bailed-out bank to the private sector.

The chancellor's intervention comes following reports that economic secretary to the treasury Sajid Javid was exploring plans for the sale of the government's stake by 2015.

The chancellor insisted a sell-off could not happen soon as it would mean a huge loss to the taxpayer, though he did not rule out such a move.

According to Osborne, it was just a premature discussion about what to do with the shares that got to the point whether they were worth what the country paid for them.

He said Gordon Brown bought them at a price that they were not worth today and the government had to get the Royal Bank of Scotland to a point where it was worth what the taxpayer paid.

Meanwhile, Osborne has promised tough international action after being presented with an official G20 report suggesting corporate tax avoidance was so widespread that the integrity of the tax system was under threat.