Lloyds Banking Group has sold the Halifax estate agency business for £1 to LSL Property Services. The 460 staff who currently work there are expected to be made redundant.
The government, or rather the taxpayer, owns 43% of Lloyds; and it is for this very reason that Lloyds has offloaded this lossmaking business.
Were the group to keep it on its books, it would be forced to participate in the Government's Asset Protection Scheme (APS) which would cost Lloyds £15.6BN and an increase in public ownership to 63%, in exchange for the government underwriting £260BN of assets.
It is not clear as to whether it will be Lloyds or LSL that picks up the bill for the redundancy costs.