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George Osborne hails sale of 5.4% stake in RBS

Chancellor George Osborne has hailed the sale of a 5.4% stake in RBS as "an important first step in returning the bank to private ownership."

George Osborne Credit: PA

He said it was right to start selling the stake at a loss to the price paid for the shares in 2008.

"While the easiest thing to do would be to duck the difficult decisions and leave RBS in state hands, the right thing to do for the economy and for taxpayers is to start selling off our stake, he said.

"Now is the time for RBS to rebuild itself as a commercial bank, no longer reliant on the state, but serving the working people of Britain," he added.

Government sells 5.4% stake in RBS for £2.1bn

The Government sold the shares at a discount Credit: PA

The Government has sold a 5.4% stake in Royal Bank of Scotland for £2.1bn, but the taxpayer has made a loss of around £1bn on the sale.

£1bn
Estimated loss to taxpayer from sale of shares

UK Financial Investments, the body that holds the government's RBS stake, said it had sold 630 million shares, representing 5.4% of the bank at 330p a share in a quick-fire sale to institutional investors after the market closed on Monday.

502p
How much the Government paid for the shares in 2008

The price was far short of the 502p paid by the Government when it bailed out the bank at the height of the financial crisis.

330p
How much shares have been sold for by UK Financial Investments

RBS shares closed at 337.6p on Monday, so the shares were sold at a 2.3% discount.

The move has reduced the Government's stake in the group from 78.3% to around 72.9%.

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Weather: Cooler conditions on Tuesday

Many northern and western areas will have a blustery day with outbreaks of showery rain, some of which will be heavy.

Britons will experience cooler conditions on Tuesday. Credit: Met Office

Gales will affect some exposed areas, giving large waves at first around the coast.

Elsewhere it will be mostly dry with sunny spells, although it will feel fresher than of late.

Top temperature 22 Celsius (72F).

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