Belfast Telegraph

Sale of RBS stake value for money despite £2bn losses

By Holly Williams

The sale of Government shares in Ulster Bank parent Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) in 2015 was "value for money" despite landing the taxpayer with losses of nearly £2bn, according to the public spending watchdog.

A report by the National Audit Office (NAO) into the controversial sale of a 5.4% stake, which was triggered by George Osborne as Chancellor nearly two years ago, revealed overall losses on the sale reached £1.9bn. It added that while details of the sale were leaked into the market about an hour before the official announcement, there was no impact on the sale price.

The NAO concluded the sale was "well planned and organised and represented value for money".

The sale came under heavy criticism at the time after the Government offloaded its first tranche of shares in RBS at a 52-week low.

The report comes just days after RBS, which is led by Ross McEwan, agreed a £4.2bn settlement in the US over claims it mis-sold toxic mortgage bonds in the run-up to the financial crisis.

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