Chancellor to sell Bradford & Bingley assets

Chancellor to sell Bradford & Bingley assets

George Osborne is looking to sell £15.7bn of bank assets rescued from Bradford & Bingley at the height of the financial crisis under plans to recoup more taxpayer cash.

The Treasury confirmed UK Asset Resolution - which controls state-owned banking assets - is considering a major programme of sales of Bradford & Bingley (B&B) mortgages to repay the £16bn debt from its bail out.

It said this was expected by the end of March 2018, although the Treasury cautioned it would be subject to market conditions and ensuring "value for money".

The Treasury also insisted it would launch a retail share sale in Lloyds Banking Group  within a year's time after it pulled the plug on the move last year amid market turbulence, while it confirmed aims to raise up to £25bn from offloading shares in Royal Bank of Scotland by the end of 2019-20.

The B&B mortgages sale could help offset the delay in stake sales in Lloyds and RBS, which have been halted as stock markets have slumped in recent months.

But the government still plans to fully privatise Lloyds by the end of 201617 through its sale of shares to the public.

It is thought that a consortium of banks, including high street lenders Barclays, HSBC and Lloyds have submitted proposals to the Treasury to guarantee financing to buyers of the B&B loans in a bid to help the Treasury plans.

These banks are also understood to be liable for the interest on the loan that was used to fund it during the 2008 financial crisis - totalling some £400m last year.

The Treasury said since 2010 it has recovered £75bn of taxpayer cash used to bail out banks and savers' money caught up in the failure of Icelandic bank Landsbanki.

It has so far raised £7.5bn from the sale of shares in Lloyds, slashing its stake to less than 10% from 43% when it was first bailed out, while it offloaded £2.1bn of shares in RBS  last August , cutting its holding to 73%.

The government is also looking to ramp up its privatisation programme, confirming plans to consult on the possible sale of the Land Registry and recently having fired the gun on the sale of the Green Investment Bank.