Iceland owes UK £2.2bn over Icesave

The UK is owed £2.2 billion by Iceland after the Treasury stepped in to guarantee British deposits in collapsed bank Icesave, it was disclosed today.

The figure was the amount paid to Icesave to cover Britons' savings when its parent company Landsbanki went into receivership last month, a Treasury official said.

The money is now part of a $10.2 billion (£6.8 billion) package of support for Iceland agreed by the International Monetary Fund today.

About 300,000 British depositors were left fearing for their savings after Icesave halted transactions at the height of the banking crisis last month.

The move came after Landsbanki was nationalised by the Icelandic government.

But Chancellor Alistair Darling stepped in to guarantee the savers' deposits, vowing to recover the lost money with Icesave.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown's spokesman said: "We will work out a timetable for repayment over the next few weeks.

"It's money that's owed to us as a result of the problems in the Icelandic banking sector."

Iceland's £2.2 billion of liabilities to the UK were confirmed today as part of a 10.2 billion dollar IMF package of support to help the island's financial recovery.

The final 2.1 billion dollars of that were signed off by the IMF today after being held up by a dispute between the UK and Iceland over refunds for depositors.

That was overcome earlier this week when Iceland agreed to cover the first £18,000 that UK savers lost. Previously the country had threatened only to reimburse domestic depositors.

The dispute also involved the Dutch and German governments, whose people also had savings in Icesave.

In a joint statement today, the British, Dutch and German governments said: "In supporting the IMF programme today the UK, Netherlands and Germany welcome Iceland's commitment to meet its obligations to depositors and ensure the fair, equal and non-discriminatory treatment of creditors.

"As part of the international support for Iceland, the UK, Netherlands and Germany will work constructively in the continuing discussions with Iceland to conclude agreements on pre-financing that enables Iceland to meet its obligations towards depositors shortly."