Tories offer discounted shares in state-backed banks

Shadow chancellor George Osborne plans to offer the public the chance to buy discounted shares in state-backed banks such as Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group in return for support given to the banks by taxpayers.

Osborne has dubbed the plans as a ’people’s bank bonus’, offering the public a stake in the state-backed banks as and when they come to be sold off.

The plans would involve special offers for younger consumers and those on modest incomes to encourage them to save.

George Osborne, shadow chancellor for the Conservatives, says: “Taxpayers bailed out the banks, so they deserve a people’s bank bonus when the time comes to sell the government shares.”

But Vince Cable, shadow chancellor for the Liberal Democrats, says this is a Conservative attempt to buy votes.

He says: “Dangling this prospect, when UK Financial Investments has said it will take at least five years before the likes of RBS are back in private hands, is Tory electioneering at its most cynical.

“They have no understanding of the economy they are aspiring to run.

“The nationalised and semi-nationalised banks should be re-privatised when the conditions are right to maximise taxpayer return.

“Selling shares off at a discounted rate will not achieve this.”