DAVID Cameron yesterday hinted that the government could sell off Royal Bank of Scotland to members of the public before the 2015 general election.
Speaking on a trip to the US, Cameron told reporters that he is interested in “involving people in owning this bank in a genuine way”, before insisting “I’m open to all ideas and proposals”.
He also said he wanted the sell-off to begin “as soon as possible”, with the proviso that the bank should be in good financial health. RBS itself has suggested it may need another 18 months to achieve this target.
The Treasury is thought to be considering ways of handing part of the government’s 81 per cent stake in the bank to millions of people in one of the biggest ever privatisations.
RBS shares are valued at 407p on the Treasury’s accounts but yesterday closed at 307p. With little chance of the government making a profit in the short-term, handing shares to members of the public would avoid allegations of selling stock to institutions on the cheap.