- Taxpayer still £3.6billion of Lloyds shares bought in the financial crisis
- The huge bailout of the bank carried out in 2008 has taken years to unwind
- Government also still owns a big stake in the Royal Bank of Scotland
- George Osborne had promised to sell discounted shares to the public but the scheme was cancelled today to ensure the taxpayer got best value
The taxpayer will get back all of the £20.3billion ploughed into Lloyds Bank to save it from collapse as the last publicly-owned shares are sold, Chancellor Philip Hammond has revealed.
A new 12 month trading plan was launched by the Chancellor today to gradually sell off the last £3.6billion chunk of the bank.
But the shares will not now be sold as a 'retail offer' to the public but instead gradually sold into the market to ensure an 'orderly' full return to the private sector.
Former chancellor George Osborne had announced the public would get the chance to buy shares at a 5 per cent discount but Mr Hammond today said the current market meant the taxpayer would not get the 'best possible return' if this went ahead.
Taxpayers still own 9.1 per cent of Lloyds and Chancellor Philip Hammond announced today he would resume the sale of shares to fully return it to the private sector
Shares in Lloyds, which have plunged 23 per cent since Britain voted to leave the European Union, were down more than 3 per cent after the announcement.
In January 2009, the then Labour government was forced to bailout Lloyds at the height of the financial crisis in an effort to stop a complete collapse of the banking system and as chancellor, Alistair Darling took a 43.4 per cent stake in the bank.
Mr Osborne began selling them off after taking over in No 11 as the bank - now Britain's biggest retail bank - recovered from the crisis and the taxpayer stake now stands at 9.1 per cent.
Taxpayers also still own a large stake in the Royal Bank of Scotland.
Speaking in Washington today, Mr Hammond said: 'Returning Lloyds to the private sector is in the interests of the bank, taxpayers and the country as a whole.
'That is why exiting our stake in Lloyds in an orderly way and at the best possible price is one of my top priorities as Chancellor.
'I have listened to the experts. Ongoing market volatility means it is not the right time for a retail offer.
'Our plan will get back all the cash taxpayers invested in Lloyds during the financial crisis and leave the bank in a better place to continue the crucial role it plays in supporting individuals, families and businesses up and down the UK.'
A trading plan involves gradually selling shares in the market over time, in an orderly and measured way.
After the announcement, the Treasury emailed thousands of people who signed up for information about buying shares in Lloyds from the Government to say it was 'withdrawing' the offer.
Mr Hammond, pictured at this week's Tory conference, said the disposal of the remaining Lloyds shares would be pursued in an 'orderly way'
The update said: 'Thank you for signing up to receive updates about a Lloyds Banking Group share offer.
'As the Chancellor announced today, we are withdrawing plans for a Lloyds retail offer. The government wants to get the best possible return for the taxpayer.
'Due to conditions in financial markets and current share prices, a retail offer at this point in time would not achieve this aim.'
Mr Osborne delayed his planed retail offer in January this year after first promising it at the 2015 general election.
The trading plan has been initiated today and sales may commence in the coming days. The plan will be in place for approximately 12 months.
The last trading plan expired in June and sales have been have been paused since then.
Morgan Stanley International will act as broker on behalf of HM Treasury to execute the trading plan.
Mr Hammond confirmed his plans in a letter to UK Financial Investments Ltd (UKFI), a company set up in 2008 to manage bank part-owned by the government independently of ministers.
Ahead of today's announcement, UKFI had told the Chancellor: 'Putting in place a further trading plan represents the best opportunity to sell shares at a price which delivers value for money for the taxpayer.'
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