The government has sold a further 1% of Lloyds Banking Group, taking taxpayers’ stake in the bailed-out bank to less than 12%.
The sale reduces the government’s holding in Lloyds to 11.98% from 12.97% a month ago. The Treasury has raised £15bn from selling Lloyds shares and has used the money to pay off the national debt.
George Osborne, chancellor of the exchequer, said: “It’s fantastic news that we’ve sold more shares in Lloyds Bank, taking the total recovered to £15bn. I am determined to build on this success, and to continue to return Lloyds to the private sector.”
Lloyds needed £20.5bn of taxpayers’ money to avoid collapse at the peak of the financial crisis in October 2008.
The bailout left the government with a 43% stake, which it plans to dispose of entirely by next year. Taxpayers also ended up owning more than 80% of Royal Bank of Scotland.
The Treasury began selling off the Lloyds stake in September 2013 and has been feeding shares into the market through a trading plan since December 2014. The plan will end by December this year.
The government started selling its RBS stake at a loss last month. The Treasury committee has warned of the need for vigilance after it was revealed that Goldman Sachs and other investment banks were charging £1 for work on privatising the banks.
Such work would normally cost tens of millions of pounds, prompting MPs to question the motivation behind the investment banks’ apparent generosity.
This article was written by Sean Farrell, for theguardian.com on Friday 25th September 2015 08.53 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010