Osborne: Lloyds Bank sell-off done 'within the year'

Lloyds Bank in a high street Image copyright Getty Images

Chancellor George Osborne has said he hopes the sale of the UK government's shares in Lloyds Banking Group will soon be completed.

"My view is that we want the government out of the banking system in the UK," Reuters agency reported him as saying.

"I hope that [Lloyds] will be complete within the year," he added.

Mr Osborne made his remarks after the UK government reduced its stake in Lloyds Banking Group to below 13% earlier on Monday.

The government has been reducing its stake in the bank from 43%, at the height of the financial crisis in 2008-09, as it aims to privatise the remaining stake held by the UK taxpayer.

Lloyds needed £20.5bn ($32.1bn) of taxpayers' cash to avoid collapse at the peak of the global crisis.

UK Financial Investments, which manages the government's stakes in Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), has now reduced its holding to 12.97%.

The government began selling off the 43% stake in September 2013.

But Mr Osborne said the sale of shares in Royal Bank of Scotland would take longer.

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