The Government has extended the period during which it will offload its stake in Lloyds, the part-nationalised bank, by six months.
The announcement means the Treasury will continue selling shares in Lloyds to institutional investors until 30 June 2016, before opening up to retail investors.
The plan could be stopped before this date to ensure the Government has sufficient shares for the proposed retail sale, which is due to commence in the spring.
Chancellor George Osborne says: “The trading plan has been a huge success, with over £9bn raised for the taxpayer so far. This means we have now recovered over £16bn in total, and we now own 9.2 per cent of the bank. I’m today extending the plan to build on this success and recover further money for the taxpayer.
“As part of my plan to fully return Lloyds to the private sector, reduce public debt and build a stronger and safer financial system, Lloyds shares will also be offered to retail investors in spring 2016. This will allow hardworking people to buy a stake in our economy and help to build a share owning democracy.”
In October, Osborne said at least £2bn of shares in the bank would be sold to retail investors at a 5 per cent discount, with those seeking shares worth less than £1,000 prioritised.
All the proceeds from the sale of shares to both institutional and retail investors will be used to pay down the national debt.