By Daniel Hunter

The UK is now the biggest market for Spanish bank Santander, more than £200 million bigger than any other.

Profits for the bank's UK arm rose £74m to £928m in the first half of the year after a 5% rise in revenues. The UK market now accounts for more than a fifth of its total profit.

It compares with the £700m posted by Santander's Brazilian operation, where revenues were up 9%.

Overall, Santander's profits were up 24% to €3.24bn.

Nathan Bostock, chief executive of Santander UK, said: "We are well placed to benefit from the positive economic outlook, although future earnings will be impacted by the bank corporation tax surcharge announced in the recent UK Budget.

"Nevertheless, I am confident that we can continue to grow the business, whilst maintaining balance sheet strength."