Taxpayer bails out of Lloyds after nine years

Lloyds Banking Group has been fully returned to private hands nearly nine years after the government threw the lender a £20 billion taxpayer lifeline at the height of the financial crisis, sources said yesterday evening.

The bank, which owns Scottish Widows and Bank of Scotland, revealed last week that the government’s stake had been reduced to 0.25 per cent.

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That was down from an initial high water mark of more than 40 per cent in 2008 – and the UK taxpayer is set to make at least a £500 million profit from the final sale.

It is understood the state’s final tranche of Lloyds’ shares has now been sold. An official confirmation is expected after the London Stock Exchange regulatory news service (RNS) opens at 7am today.

The taxpayers’ buy-in price was 74p, but is calculated in the books by the Treasury at 61p after including money paid by Lloyds to the government in fees. The shares closed yesterday at 70.15p.