George Osborne admits Lloyds windfall might not yet benefit families

George Osborne wanted to make today a special day, as the first chunk of cash to be released from the part state-owned bank goes back to the taxpayer, or at least the Treasury.

But speaking to ITV News this afternoon, the Chancellor accepted that this "vote of confidence" might not make that much difference to families whose money goes less far each week.

The Government has sold a 6% stake in Lloyds Banking Group. Credit: Philip Toscano/PA Wire

He also couldn't rule out the fact that the taxpayer might have got more cash back if the Government had hung on to the shares for longer.

Although the main measure of inflation has edged down a touch, the wider one - the RPI - has gone up. Prices are still going up far faster than wages, leaving millions worse off in real terms.

Osborne acknowledged that there was still some way to go before statistics that suggest recovery turn in to "personal recovery".

Asked about signs of a housing bubble, he said in many places prices were still below the peak. He defended the Government's existing Help to Buy scheme that provides cheap loans to homebuyers.

But when I asked if he was completely committed to introducing the second stage of the plan, the Mortgage Guarantee, he was slightly less persuasive.

The Mortgage Guarantee, due to come in to force in January, will underwrite properties to the value of £600,000.

Mr Osborne told me he believed the unfairness in the housing market has to be dealt with and that he wanted home ownership to be a reality for more people.

But he did not completely commit to introducing the next stage of the scheme exactly as planned in January, although Treasury sources are adamant it will go ahead. Perhaps there could be some tweaks on the way.

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