Treasury hints at Lloyds retail share sale as another per cent is sold off

George Osborne
George Osborne

The UK Government has confirmed that it will launch a Lloyds share sale to the public “in the next 12 months”.

The announcement came as the government also revealed that it has sold off more of its shares in the bailed-out lender.

Commenting on the final round of sales, The Treasury said that “further details will be set out in due course,” but according to reports the plan is to sell to retail investors within the next year in a throwback “Tell Sid” style sell-off.

That type of sale marries with Chancellor George Osborne’s previous pledge to make some Lloyds shares available to small investors - at a discount to the market price.

The government also said it is extending its plan to sell off shares in Lloyds to the end of the year after the scheme was originally due to end at the end of June.

It will now finish on 31 December.

The Treasury said the extension of the sale would help it meet Mr Osborne’s pledge to sell a further £9bn Lloyds shares in 2015-16.

“We’re determined to get on with the job of returning Lloyds to private ownership”, Mr Osborne said. “That’s why I’m extending the plan for six months so that we can make even more progress in returning money to the taxpayer and paying down the national debt.”

The government also announced today that it had sold a further 1 per cent of shares in the bank, taking its stake below 19 per cent, meaning more than half the government’s stake in the bank has been sold off. As of May, with six per cent sold off in the last three months alone.

The government originally owned a 41 per cent stake in the bank after ploughing £20bn into the bank during the 2008 financial crisis.

It started selling Lloyds shares in 2013, and the latest sale means it has now raised more than £10.5bn.

“The trading plan has been a huge success, with almost £3.5bn raised for the taxpayer so far. This means we have now recovered over £10.5bn in total, more than half of the taxpayers’ money put into Lloyds, and we now own under 19 per cent of the bank,” said the chancellor.

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