Clegg supports free bank shares for UK citizens

Nick Clegg has backed plans to give British adults free shares in the part-nationalised banks Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland.

The proposal would see the government handing over free shares to 46 million voters so they can benefit from any gains when the shares are sold.

A 'floor price' would be set, estimated at 74p per share for Lloyds and 51p for RBS, with each UK citizen receiving around 440 shares in Lloyds and 1,450 shares in RBS to be deposited in individual trading accounts.

If the shares rose in value to £1,500 and they were cashed in, each taxpayer would make around a £500 profit, with £1,000 being returned to the Treasury - helping it claw back its initial bailout.

On a trade mission to Brazil, Clegg, who has written to the Treasury asking it to consider the proposal, said: "Psychologically it is immensely important that the British people feel they have not just been overlooked and ignored.

"Their money has been used to the tune of billions to keep the British banking system on a life-support machine and they have absolutely no say at all in what happens when normality is restored."

The notion of 'people's shareholdings' was introduced by City firm Portman Capital, back in March, with the support of the Liberal Democrats Treasury Parliamentary Committee, chaired by backbencher Stephen Williams.

Williams created a pamphlet titled 'Getting your share of the banks', in which he said the mass distribution of stakes in the banks is the fairest way of giving taxpayers a share of the rewards, while ensuring the Treasury returns its investment.

"There is a danger that when the banks return to the private sector, it is business as usual. There is a general feeling in this country that we need to get something positive in return for the bailout," he added.

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In the case of Northern Rock, the government effectively stole it from its owners by forcing the company into administration when its only problem was cash-flow.

In the case of original Lloyds TSB shareholders, the takeover of HBOS was a decision forced on the (incompetent) board by the Government. Without a "due diligence" check, the board had no idea of the black hole in HBOS accounts - Lloyds was viable before that and previous Lloyds Tsb shareholders suffered because of it.

I do not think that the plan to give shares to us will ever be implemented.

Good idea in theory. What will this all cost? I expect that the majority of people would want to sell their shares straight away, another cost. If it does go ahead there needs to be an added incentive to keep the shares, rather than cash them in or to allow the shares to be added to an isa or proceeds of sale to be added to the ISA allowance in that one year