Belfast Telegraph

Chancellor George Osborne rules out Lloyds share sale

By Roger Baird

Chancellor George Osborne has ruled out a public offering of the Treasury's remaining shares in Lloyds Banking Group ahead of the General Election. The Treasury, which still owns 25% of the bank, is thought to have scrapped a public sale before May due to stock market volatility, geopolitical uncertainty and the time it would take to launch the public offering.

The Chancellor said in his Autumn Statement last December he wanted the taxpayer to have the opportunity to own shares in the bank.

The Treasury was left with a stake in Lloyds following its £20bn rescue during the financial crisis, after it swallowed up troubled Halifax Bank of Scotland.

Taxpayers originally owned 43% of Lloyds, but this was cut following share sales to institutions to 24.9% earlier this year. The Treasury last raised £4.2bn in March by selling shares at 75.5p to City investors.

But since June, Lloyds share price has fallen 6% as the stock market has become more volatile and geopolitical conditions have grown more uncertain.

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