An attempt by two of Scotland’s best-known bankers to preserve HBOS as an independent company received a further blow after the plan was attacked by a leading trade union.

Derek Simpson, joint general secretary of Unite, said the union had “serious doubts” about the plans by Sir Peter Burt, former chief executive of Bank of Scotland and Sir George Mathewson, former chairman of Royal Bank of Scotland.

He said: “They have failed to come up with any concrete proposals or any money, and it is irresponsible of them to threaten the proposed merger between HBOS with Lloyds TSB.

“We have serious concerns that the extreme arrogance of these two individuals will lead to the nightmare scenario in which HBOS collapses.”

He accused the intervention of bringing further uncertainty to staff at HBOS and Lloyds TSB.

“The government intervened early, injecting £30bn to stabilise the Scottish banking system. Sir George and Sir Peter are now in danger of destabilising the situation. The future of these important financial institutions is now at stake.”

The comments come as some of HBOS’s biggest investors dismissed the proposal by the two men saying it had “no credibility and no support”.

The duo are currently meeting investors and trying to gather support for their campaign.

HBOS is shortly due to issue its circular to investors ahead of a meeting to agree the deal in mid-December.

In his decision not to refer the Lloyds/HBOS deal to the Competition Commission, Lord Mandelson considered evidence from the Financial Services Authority.

The FSA’s submission made it clear that it believes the proposed Lloyds/ HBOS deal would maintain financial stability.

“In particular, it provides a sustainable medium-term future for HBOS in a way that none of the alternative scenarios does,” the FSA’s submission said.

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