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Government sells off further Lloyds shares


The Government has sold more Lloyds shares to investors, taking its stake to below 17%.

During the 2008 financial crisis, the government paid £22.5 billion of tax payers money to own a 41% stake in the bank. In 2013, they started to sell shares to help return money to the tax payer. So far, £11.5 billion has been returned.

UK Financial Investments (UKFI), the firm responsible for handling the government's stakes in the privatised bank, has been gradually selling down the Treasury's stake in Lloyds. Investment bank Morgan Stanley handled the share sales, which brought the governments stake in the bank down to under 17%.

In a statement, Lloyds banking group has said:
"Today's announcement shows the further progress made in returning Lloyds Banking Group to full private ownership and enabling the taxpayer to get their money back."

UKFI had a “trading plan” under which government-owned shares will be sold to big institutional investors. This was due to end at the end of June but has now been extended to 31st December. This is because the Treasury believe an extra six months with the plan would help Chancellor George Osborne's pledge to sell a further £9bn of Lloyds shares in 2015-16.

Before the general election, Mr Osborne announced that a shares would also be made available to the public, possibly this year.

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