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RBS to cut 1,400 head office jobs as it plans private sector return

Royal Bank of Scotland is to cut a further 1,400 jobs over the next two years. Most of the job losses are expected to be at RBS's offices in Edinburgh as the 81 per cent taxpayer-owned bank said that it would not be cutting frontline staff in branches.

Since RBS came to the brink of collapse during the financial crisis it has cut nearly 40,000 jobs, many in its investment banking division.

Ross McEwan, the chief executive of RBS's UK retail operations, said: "To serve our customers well, we have to ensure that our resources are focused on the things that matter most to them. Regrettably, we can only do that by restructuring the way we work in head office, so that every effort is concentrated on supporting our customers and the frontline staff that serve them."

He said that where possible staff would be redeployed and he hoped to avoid compulsory redundancies. However, the Unite trade union described RBS's decision as "brutal".

RBS reported a return to profit earlier this month. At the time the chairman, Sir Philip Hampton, said the bank might return to the private sector in 2014, following a restructuring programme that includes winding down the investment banking operation, which was bought in just before the financial crash.