Government cuts taxpayer stake in Lloyds below 5%

The Uk government has reduced its stake in Lloyds Banking Group to less than 5 per cent as the lender moves one step closer to full private ownership.

The taxpayer stake in the Bank of Scotland owner is now less than 5%. Picture: John Devlin

UK Financial Investments, which manages the stake in Lloyds, cut its holding in the Bank of Scotland owner by about one percentage point.

It means the taxpayer’s stake in the bank now stands at 4.99 per cent, with more than £18.5 billion being returned to government coffers since the lender’s £20.3bn bailout.

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Taxpayer is no longer biggest shareholder in Lloyds

Today’s transaction marks the latest in a series of share sales by the government, which said in October it hoped to offload its remaining shares in Lloyds within a year.

The government has progressively sold down its original 43 per cent stake in Lloyds and Chancellor Philip Hammond ditched plans for a share sale to the public in October, opting instead to offload the holding to institutional investors.

Economic secretary to the Treasury Simon Kirby said: “Since our decision to sell the government’s stake in Lloyds we have recovered over 90 per cent of the money taxpayers injected into the bank during the financial crisis.

“This represents real progress and I am delighted that we are on track to return Lloyds to private ownership.”

All proceeds from the sale will be used to reduce the national debt.