£20.3bn to bail out Lloyds Banking Group bank is recouped

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The Government has recouped the £20.3bn used to bail out Lloyds Banking Group during the financial crisis, leaving the lender on the brink of privatisation.

Chancellor Philip Hammond said the Government has now recovered £20.4bn since it began selling off its stake in the high street bank four years ago.

The taxpayer’s final stake in Lloyds, now less than two per cent, is expected to be sold off in the coming months, with any profits being used to pay down the deficit.

Speaking in Washington, Mr Hammond said: “Recovering all of the money taxpayers injected into Lloyds marks a significant milestone in our plan to build an economy that works for everyone.

“While it was right to step in with support during the financial crisis, the government should not be in the business of owning banks in the long term.

“The right place for them is in the private sector and I’m pleased to be able to say we are approaching the point at which we will sell our final shares in Lloyds Bank.”

The Government had mulled plans to shed its remaining stake in Lloyds through a retail sale, but former chancellor George Osborne halted it in January 2016, blaming market turbulence.

The idea was eventually ditched altogether by Mr Hammond in favour of a drip-feed sale to institutional investors through a trading plan.

Chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio said: “As the Government announces it has now received all of the £20.3bn originally put into the group, it is a moment of huge pride for all of us at Lloyds.

“Colleagues have worked incredibly hard over the last six years to play their part in this journey. As we look to the future, we remain absolutely focused on our commitment to help Britain prosper.”

Lloyds Banking Group employs around 6,000 staff in Calderdale, many working at the former HBOS corporate centres of Trinity Road, Halifax, and the Copley Data Centre.