Britain’s major banks are on target to exceed Government-agreed lending targets despite previous reports to the contrary, reports the Financial Times. These targets have been called “stretch targets” because they are about 10% lower than the official “capacity targets” published in the announcement of the Project Merlin agreement between banks and the Government. Business minister Mark Prisk said in a written Parliamentary response that banks only narrowly missed their stretch target figures in the three months to March (£17.2bn against a target of £16.8bn). The quarterly target under the capacity figure was £19bn. However, an aide to Chancellor George Osborne told the FT: “It is categorically not true that the banks are being judged against a different set of lending numbers. The bankers know they are being judged against one set of numbers - the lending capacity numbers in the Merlin agreement.”

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