A man wearing protective face mask walks past the Bank of England in the City of London Image copyright Getty Images

Some of the UK’s biggest banks have agreed to scrap dividend payments and hold on to the cash, which may be needed during the coronavirus crisis.

The Bank of England welcomed the decision and encouraged the banks not to pay bonuses to senior staff until the end of the year.

The banks, which include NatWest, Santander and Barclays, were due to pay out billions to shareholders.

But in recent days they have come under pressure to hold onto the money.

The deputy governor of the Bank of England, Sam Woods, wrote to some banking bosses asking them to suspend dividend payments. He asked them to confirm their decision by Tuesday evening.

In a statement, the Prudential Regulation Authority, which is part of the Bank of England, said: “Although the decisions taken today will result in shareholders not receiving dividends, they are a sensible precautionary step given the unique role that banks need to play in supporting the wider economy through a period of economic disruption, alongside the extraordinary measures being taken by the authorities.”

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