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Note 36: Contingent liabilities

There were contingent liabilities at 31 March 2010 in respect of guarantees and indemnities entered into as part of the ordinary course of the Group’s business. No material losses are likely to arise from such contingent liabilities. A number of other lawsuits and regulatory proceedings are pending, the outcome of which in the aggregate is not expected to have a material effect on the Group’s financial position or results of operations.

The Group and the Company have guaranteed certain borrowings, liabilities and commitments, which at 31 March 2010 amounted to £119 million (2009: £185 million) and £385 million (2009: £498 million) respectively. For the Company these included guarantees given in respect of the fixed perpetual preferred securities issued by subsidiary undertakings.

The Group is involved in certain claims and litigation related to its operations. In the opinion of management, liabilities, if any, arising from these claims and litigation will not have a material adverse effect on the Group’s consolidated financial position or results of operations. The Group files income tax returns in many jurisdictions throughout the world. Various tax authorities are currently examining the Group’s income tax returns. Tax returns contain matters that could be subject to differing interpretations of applicable tax laws and regulations and the resolution of tax positions through negotiations with relevant tax authorities, or through litigation, can take several years to complete. Whilst it is difficult to predict the ultimate outcome in some cases, the Group does not anticipate that there will be any material impact on the Group’s financial position or results of operations.

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