Lloyds Stake Sale
Lloyds says will support Conservatives share sale plan Reuters

Lloyds has publicly thrown its weight behind the Conservative Party's plans to sell billions of pounds worth of shares in the bank at a discount to private retail investors, if the Tories are returned to power.

Under the terms of the offer buyers will receive a discount of at least 5% on the market price at the time of the sale and priority will be given to investors purchasing up to £1,000 worth of shares.

A Reuters report quoted a Lloyds spokesman as saying that "the sale of the stake is clearly a matter for the government. We will support the government in whatever way is required in due course".

Shares in Lloyds were trading 0.72% higher at 8.30am in London.

Discount for small investors

Writing in Sunday's Telegraph, Osborne said the initiative will give "many more people a stake in our economy," while ensuring the £20bn (€27.7bn, $30bn) Labour spent to bail out the bank following the financial crash of 2008 is repaid.

The minimum purchase will be £250 and there will be a maximum limit of £10,000.

Buyers will be rewarded with a loyalty bonus if they keep their shares for a year.

Critics of the plan have made the point that banks present a complex investment proposition and are relatively risky compared to traditional large scale "kitchen table" equity offerings like British Telecom.

The government has so far sold almost half of the 43% stake it was left with following the bailout but only to institutional investors.