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Labour warns against any RBS sell-off

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell says such a move would not be justified.

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Rumours are circling around the sell-off of RBS shares (Philip Toscano/PA)

Rumours are circling around the sell-off of RBS shares (Philip Toscano/PA)

Rumours are circling around the sell-off of RBS shares (Philip Toscano/PA)

Labour has insisted there is no justification for a new sell-off of RBS shares after reports the Government is set to offload part of its stake in the bank.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said such a decision would result in a big loss for taxpayers who own 72% of the bank.

Mr McDonnell said: “There is no economic justification for a further sell-off of RBS shares and it beggars belief that this Government is considering selling shares at an even bigger loss to the taxpayer than the £1 billion George Osborne managed.

“All further sales of RBS shares should be halted, and the bank reorganised under public control to help provide the patient, long-term investment capital that businesses across the country so urgently need.”

The comments come as RBS executives are expected to face a barrage of questions from shareholders over dividends, branch closures and re-privatisation at the lender’s annual meeting this week.

The Government had been expected to sell £15 billion worth of shares by 2023, around two-thirds of its stake.

However, it is facing a near-£26.2 billion loss on its holding, with the lender’s shares languishing well below the average 502p share price paid during the 2008 and 2009 bailout, at around 292p.

PA