Osborne agrees to sell taxpayer stakes in RBS and Lloyds - reports

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George Osborne has started the sale process of the taxpayer stake in Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Lloyds, within hours of both banks getting approval from regulators over their capital strength.

The Times reports the Chancellor promised to "set out the way ahead" for the privatisations after the report of the Parliamentary Banking Commission, which is due in mid-June.

He said: "Having refocused their businesses, now is the time for a clear strategy on how to return RBS and Lloyds to the private sector in a way that protects value for the taxpayer."

A statement on how the privatisations might be conducted is expected either before Parliament adjourns in July or after it returns in the autumn.

The Times reports Lloyds and RBS issued statements yesterday saying that they had satisfied the Prudential Regulation Authority over how they would close their capital shortfalls over the next few months.

Lloyds also announced plans to raise more than £450m by selling a further 15% stake in the wealth manager St James's Place, which would boost its capital ratios.

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