Brexit vote to delay RBS bank sell off by a couple of years

05 July 2016

The Brexit vote has come as a setback to the UK government's attempts to sell off its stake in Royal Bank of Scotland, the chief executive of the bailed-out bank, Ross McEwan said yesterday.

As the chancellor, George Osborne, prepared to meet  the heads of the major banks to discuss the impact of the EU referendum result today, McEwan said the prospects of a major stake sell off had been held back a couple of years.

The remarks by the RBS chief executive on LBC radio led to calls for the government to review its policy for the bank, which had received an infusion of £45 billion from taxpayers in 2008 and 2009.

The banks' shares had fallen 30 per cent since the UK voted to leave the EU and the share closed yesterday at 167p, well below the 502p average price which taxpayers paid for a stake in the bank.

According to McEwan, it was up to the government to sell its stake, ''this will be quite a setback, let's be honest''.

In response to a question as to how much longer the stake sale would take, McEwan said, ''I think at least a couple of years – we'll be pushed back because  of it. But you know markets turn round and go positive as quickly as they go negative,'' The Guardian said in a report.

According to commentators, a Brexit-induced economic slump was the latest headache for chancellor of the exchequer, George Osborne, who had plans to raise £25 billion disposing of the UK's stake in RBS by 2020.

The UK government owns about 72 per cent of the lender, which had made a loss every year since receiving a £45.5 billion taxpayer-funded bailout amid the 2008 banking crisis.

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