Over £2.5 billion worth of government-owned Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) shares were sold on Monday night (04/06), reducing the government’s shareholding by 7.7% to 62.4%, as part of the government’s policy to return the bank to private ownership.

The shares were sold at 271p each, almost half the 502p a share paid in the government’s bailout of RBS a decade ago when it rescued the bank at the height of the financial crisis.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, said: “This sale represents a significant step in returning RBS to full private ownership and putting the financial crisis behind us. The government should not be in the business of owning banks. The proceeds of this sale will go towards reducing our national debt – this is the right thing to do for taxpayers as we build an economy that is fit for the future.”

The government sold its shares in an overnight placing managed by UK Government Investments (UKGI).