Barclays Plunges amid New Worries over Bailouts Bill; Man with a Plan: Darling Would Use Taxpayers' Money to Underwrite "Toxic Assets"

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Byline: BILL CONDIE

BARCLAYS' shares tumbled sharply again today as investors ignored chief executive John Varley's attempts to calm the markets.

The bank's stock fell for the ninth day running, losing nearly 18%, or 10.4p, at 48.8p.

The fall came despite an interview last night with Varley in which he declared his confidence that Monday's Government bailout plan would work.

However, he said there was nothing he could do to stop the rot in Barclays' shares, which have lost more than two thirds since 12 January amid fears that it would need to tap the Government for more cash or possibly even be nationalised.

Meanwhile, the Government came under increased pressure over its multibillion pound schemes to bail out the banking system, as it emerged today that Britain could let the banks off more lightly than the White House did Wall Street firms.

Plans said to be under consideration at the Treasury would leave the UK taxpayer to underwrite many hundreds of billions of pounds of potential losses more than previously thought.

Chancellor Alistair Darling plans to use taxpayers' money as insurance against losses from banks' so-called "toxic assets". …