The Government has reduced its stake in Lloyds Banking Group to just below 9 per cent, its first sale since the relaunch of a trading plan that was shelved almost a year ago because of market turbulence.
Earlier this month, UK Financial Investments Limited (UKFI), which manages the Government's stake in the bailed-out bank, said it would resume share sales in a bid to return Lloyds to full private ownership over the next 12 months.
The Government sold about 1 per cent of Lloyds' shares on the same day the bank defied expectations of a post-Brexit squeeze on earnings by reporting third-quarter profits largely unchanged from a year earlier.
Chancellor Philip Hammond said: "Selling our shares in Lloyds and making sure that we get back all the cash taxpayers injected into it during the financial crisis is one of my top priorities as Chancellor.".
Lloyds was rescued with a £20.5bn taxpayer-funded bailout during the 2007-09 financial crisis, leaving the state holding 43 per cent.
In December 2014, UKFI mandated Morgan Stanley to sell the shares on the open market as long as the stock was trading above the Government's average buy-in price of 73.6p.
So far the Government has recouped about £17bn of taxpayer cash after it began selling off its stake in 2013.