Lloyds share sales raise £14bn

The Government has raised almost £14bn from the sale of its stake in Lloyds Banking Group after selling a further 1 per cent of its holding.

The news comes as part of a programme of sales first announced in December, and comes despite recent warnings that it may have to slow progress in order to ensure it can provide a retail offering next year.

All sales are used to reduce the national debt, and the Government’s holding now sits just below 14 per cent.

Chancellor George Osborne says: “It’s fantastic news that we’ve sold more shares in Lloyds, taking the total recovered to almost £14bn.

“I am determined to build on this success, and to continue to return Lloyds to the private sector and reduce our national debt.”

At the same time, the BBC reports that the Treasury may be about to launch the sale of its stake in Royal Bank of Scotland.

UK Financial Investments, which holds an 80 per cent stake in RBS, could sell a stake worth billions of pounds, pending interest from investors.

According to the BBC, the Treasury has tentatively identified this week as potential launch for the sale process, though a lack of appetite could push any move back to September.

Osborne first announced plans to sell the government’s holding as part of his Mansion House speech in June.