UK finance minister says SVB rescue necessary to protect UK tech

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FILE PHOTO: British Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt talks to a television crew outside the BBC headquarters in London

LONDON (Reuters) - Finance minister Jeremy Hunt said on Monday the rescue of SVB's UK arm by HSBC was necessary to help protect some of Britain's most important technology companies.

"We were faced with a situation where we could have seen some of our most important companies, our most strategic companies wiped out and that would have been extremely dangerous," Hunt told reporters on Monday.

Asked about HSBC's white knight role, Hunt said the finance ministry had been neutral as to what the solution for SVB's UK arm was, and his priority was to avoid using British taxpayer money.

"We were looking at all options and we needed to be sure that if the sale didn't happen, we had other solutions ready," he said.

He repeated reassurances that the situation with SVB's UK arm did not pose any risk for Britain's financial system.

"The UK banking system is extremely secure, it's well capitalised," he said.

(Reporting by Sarah Young, Editing by Kylie MacLellan)