The UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, has today set out the next stage in the government’s plan to return Lloyds Banking Group to private ownership and get taxpayers’ money back, by announcing that the government will sell part of its remaining shareholding in the firm through a trading plan.

The government received advice from UK Financial Investments today that it would be appropriate to sell another part of the government’s shareholding in Lloyds through a trading plan. The government agrees with that advice and has authorised the plan to be put in place.

The government remains committed to restoring Lloyds to private ownership in a way which gets the best value for the taxpayer, building on the success of previous share sales which have so far raised £7.4 billion. Shares will only be sold where this objective is met.

Osborne said: “I can confirm today that the government is taking the next step in returning Lloyds Banking Group to private ownership.”

“The trading plan I’m initiating today is made possible by our long term economic plan which is delivering a more secure and resilient economy. It is another step in reducing our national debt and in getting taxpayers’ money back.”

A trading plan involves gradually selling shares in the market over time, in an orderly and measured way. The trading plan has been initiated today and sales may commence in the coming days. The plan will be in place for approximately six months.

Shares will not be sold below the average price the previous government paid for them, which was 73.6p. The previous sales of the government’s shares in Lloyds have raised £7.4bn, reducing the government’s stake in the bank from around 40% to just under 25%.

Morgan Stanley will act as broker on behalf of HM Treasury to execute the trading plan.