LONDON (Reuters) - Britain has cut its stake in Lloyds Banking Group LLOY.L to just below 8 percent in a renewed attempt to return the lender to full private ownership over the next year.Lloyds said in a statement on Tuesday the government had reduced its stake in the bank by about 1 percentage point to 7.99 percent. UK Financial Investments Limited (UKFI), which manages the government’s stake in the bailed-out bank, last month resumed share sales that were shelved almost a year ago because of market turbulence.“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,” the bank said in a statement. Lloyds was rescued with a 20.5 billion pound ($25.6 billion) taxpayer-funded bailout during the 2007-09 financial crisis, leaving the state holding 43 percent.
British finance minister Philip Hammond is under pressure to recoup cash from the government’s stake in Lloyds and fellow bailed-out bank Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L) to relieve a likely shortfall in the nation’s finances.
The UK has recouped over 17 billion pounds of taxpayer cash after it began selling off its stake in 2013.
Reporting by Andrew MacAskill; Editing by Rachel Armstrong and Mark Potter