UK chancellor George Osborne has admitted not radically restructuring Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) in 2010 was a mistake and outlined plans for an early sale of the government’s stake in RBS post general election.
"When I say ‘get rid of it’, I mean put it into the good hands of the private sector", Osborne said in an interview with the FT.
Osborne highlighted that cutting down the government stake could take years to complete owing to its large size.
"It’s not an exact science, but on some measures it’s bigger than all the privatisations of the 1980s put together. Second, I think people want to see they get their money back. The British taxpayer wants to feel they haven’t suffered some enormous loss.
"So there are constraints around it, but it’s certainly something I would want to get moving on in the summer after the election. I would want to see a review on a plan for disposal," continued Osborne.
The lender is currently 79% owned by taxpayers after the government bailed it out in end of 2008 and early 2009 to prevent its collapse.
Business secretary Vince Cable wanted to break up RBS in 2012 but was overruled by Osborne who orchestrated the exit of the bank’s chief executive Stephen Hester in 2013.