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U.K. Minister Overseeing RBS and Lloyds Backs Selling Stakes

Sajid Javid, the U.K. Treasury minister responsible for overseeing state-owned Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and Lloyds Banking Group Plc said his instinct was to unwind the government’s holdings.

“Politicians should have nothing to do with running commercial banks,” Javid, a Conservative lawmaker who was appointed Economic Secretary earlier this month, told the Evening Standard newspaper, in comments confirmed by the Treasury.

Javid’s role at the Treasury has been extended to include responsibility for the state-owned banks that were rescued in 2008. His comments are in line with those of Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, who before the May 2010 election suggested shares in the banks could be sold to the public at a discount.

A former managing director at Deutsche Bank AG, Javid urged bankers to work harder to improve their image with the public. “Most people would be surprised to learn that the financial sector is the biggest contributor to corporation tax, or that it has more than 2 million employees who between them are the biggest contributors as a sector to income tax,” he said. “It’s these taxes that make a significant contribution to paying for the public services we rely on.”

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