Government Ministers and their faithful allies at the BBC report RBS as being in profit, making £15 million pre-tax.
It is true that in one of the many presentations of figures within the complex Interim Statement by RBS it does show a pre-tax profit of £15 million. That same presentation also shows that the group lost £3.35 billion at the operating level, made profits on disposals and debt redemption to get marginally into profit, but then after allowing for a write down of goodwill was in loss. The total loss attributable to shareholders was very clearly stated in several of the presentations as £1042 million.
As confirmation, the table which shows the rate of return on capital (now taxpayer owned and provided) shows a negative return, a massive – 18.1%. The consoldiated income is shown as minus £3billion, and the loss per share as 2.1pence.
That’s the wonder of spin. You include the items you like, and leave out the items you don’t like. It is only dangerous if you start to believe the selective figures.