European Commissioners will hold a month-long inquiry into Royal Bank of Scotland’s proposal to abandon its sale of assets,

The bank has set out a plan to abandon the requirement placed on it by the Commission in 2009 that it should sell 300 branches as a condition for receiving a bail-out from the taxpayer.

Instead it wants to set up a £750m fund to support challenger banks and SMEs.

RBS intended to offload the branches under the revived Williams and Glyn brand, with assets of £20bn.

But it has failed either to find a trade buyer for the division, or to float it on the stock exchange.

The bank has spent more than £1.5 billion trying to get Williams & Glyn ready for separation, much of that on the complex process of disentangling the IT platform and creating a new one.