The aim is to promote financial stability and benefit the wider economy.
The government paid 500p per share in 2008 following RBS’ £45.5 billion (€62.5 billion) bailout – shares are now currently priced at 354.8p. This had lead to concern over whether the deal would short change the public, which Unite union has emphasised.
Osbourne’s theory is that RBS will do better in the private sector, make higher profits, and therefore pay more tax.
This is Britain’s biggest privatisation ever, and follows the government’s sale of a further 30% of its stake in Royal Mail.