Britain mulls giving RBS shares to public - report
February 16, 2013 8:49 AM EST
In a move that might lift the spirits of cash-strapped Britons before the next general election, the government is considering giving away its stake in state-controlled Royal Bank of Scotland by 2015, newspapers reported on Friday.
The government owns 82 percent of RBS after rescuing the bank by pumping in 45 billion pounds ($70 billion) of capital when it neared collapse in 2008.
In October the bank said it was preparing to sell the shares in 2014, one year before the next general election, with the timing and sale structure up to the government. No share giveaway was mentioned.
"Plans to sell off or even 'give away' the government's majority stake in Royal Bank of Scotland before the next election are being drawn up by (finance minister) George Osborne's Treasury," Britain's Independent newspaper said in an advance copy of its Saturday front page, which gave no sourcing details.
Citing unnamed "Treasury sources", the Daily Mail said the plan is being explored by Economic Secretary to the Treasury Sajid Javid, and could involve giving shares away next year or selling the shares to the public at a discount.
"Wouldn't it be much better if voters were getting a cheque for 400 pounds a few months before election day? It would also be a very big stimulus," the newspaper quoted one Conservative source as saying.
RBS and UK Financial Investments, which looks after the government's stake in the bank, declined to comment. The Treasury was not immediately available for comment.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in 2011 backed proposals to give the public shares in part-nationalised banks because taxpayer money had been used to keep the banking system alive.
At the time, the Treasury said it would "look at all options", but critics dismissed the idea as a headline-grabbing exercise.
(Reporting by Mohammed Abbas and Matt Scuffham; editing by Andrew Roche)
Most Popular Slideshows
- In Photos, Typhoon Rammasun Blasts the Philippines
- Ellen DeGeneres Caught Cheating with Mutual Friend Before Portia de Rossi’s Rehab – Reports [PHOTOS]
- Flight MH17 Attack: Russians Claim 'Putin A Terrorist,' Memorial at Dutch Embassy Overflows [PHOTOS]
- Malaysia Airlines MH17: Vital Black Boxes Finally Land in Hands of Malaysian Authorities, Rebels Announce Ceasefire (PHOTOS/VIDEOS)
Join the Conversation
- Tourre on stand says email in SEC case 'not accurate'
- Syrian authorities blocking access to needy in Homs - Red Cross
- Faith in European Union at low ebb, EU poll says
- Former UBS banker gets 18 months, $1 million fine, for muni bid-rigging scheme
- U.S. judge halts challenges to Detroit's bankruptcy bid
- Google Nexus 8 Release Date Soon Along with 2 More HTC Android Tablets – Reports
- Windows Phone 8.1 Update Rollout: 20 Nokia Lumia Phones Eligible and 13 New Features to be Added
- Moto 360 Price Speculations, Key Features, Strategic Release Date, Design: A Watch That is More Than Just Time
- Sony PlayStation 4 Outsells a Resurgent Xbox One in June
- Killer Xiaomi Mi4 at $369 Likely to Come With 5.0-Inch Display, Snapdragon 801 Processor, 3GB RAM and More
- Three New Moto G Successors Spotted in FCC Document Dubbed Moto G2, Moto M and More --Reports
- NVIDIA Shield Gaming Tablet with Tegra K1 SoC Reported to be Released on July 29