Taxpayers' stake in Lloyds has now fallen below one per cent

Emma Haslett
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Lloyds is now just 0.9 per cent taxpayer owned (Source: Getty)

Nine years after it bailed out the lender, the Treasury has cut its stake in Lloyds Banking Group below one per cent, it said today.

Shares in the lender opened 0.5 per cent higher, at 69.3p, after regulatory filings showed the government now owns just 0.89 per cent, down from the 43 per cent it was left with after a bailout in 2008. It began selling down its stake in 2013, and cut its holding to below two per cent at the beginning of this month.

The move comes exactly a week after the government said it had made back the full £20.3bn it had spent on the bailout.

Earlier this week the lender posted figures showing profits had doubled in the first quarter, despite it setting aside £450m for various legal wrangles, including PPI claims and the HBOS scandal.

Read more: We’d all be better off if the government sold its stake in RBS at a loss

Meanwhile, the Treasury continues to hold a 79 per cent stake in Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), having ploughed £45.5bn into it in return for an 81 per cent share in 2008.

However, figures posted today showed RBS returned to profit for the first time in 18 months in the first quarter of this year, smashing expectations with an attributable profit of £259m, compared with a £968m loss in the same period of last year.

Earlier this month chancellor Philip Hammond admitted the government could sell its stake in RBS at a loss.

"Our policy remains to return the bank to private hands as soon as we can achieve fair value for the shares, recognising that fair value could well be below what the previous government paid for them," he told the House of Commons.

Read more: Lloyds' success throws RBS' failings into uncomfortably sharp relief

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