After being in government for just a few days, the Tories have sold another load of shares in taxpayer-backed Lloyds, reducing its stake in the bank to less than 20 per cent.
It sold £500m shares in Lloyds under a trading plan to gradually sell off shares, that was first outlined in December.
And this means that the government, which has been steadily reducing its stake in the bank since December, has recouped about £10bn since it was forced to bail out Lloyds in 2008-9.
The government had thrown the bank a £20bn lifeline during the depths of the global financial crisis, meaning it was left with a 41 per cent stake.
"These sales have only been made possible by our long term economic plan, and we are determined to build on this success, and to continue to return Lloyds to the private sector and reduce our national debt," Osborne said.
A Lloyds spokesman said: "Today’s announcement shows the further progress made in returning Lloyds Banking Group to full private ownership and enabling the taxpayer to get their money back. This reflects the hard work undertaken over the last four years to transform the group into a simple, low-risk and customer-focused bank.”
Chancellor George Osborne previously said in his March budget that the government will sell at least £9bn worth of the shares in the next year.