Three quarters of the British public say the government should hold on to RBS for the foreseeable future or until its share price recovers
The Chancellor, George Osborne, is expected to announce details of the future multibillion pound privatisation of the Royal Bank of Scotland next week, following the removal of its chief executive Stephen Hester. Sir Philip Hampton, chairman of RBS, justified Mr Hester’s removal by claiming that his unwillingness to commit to staying with the bank would decrease investor confidence, however RBS’s share price fell six percent after the resignation.
New YouGov research reveals that three quarters of the British public (74%) think the government should hold on to its stake in RBS. Of them, 43% say the government should keep its stake in RBS “in the hope that shares in the bank recover and the government can sell it for a higher price later on” while 31% believe they should do so “for the foreseeable future and run it as a nationalised bank”. Only one in ten say RBS should be sold “in the near future”, “even if it means doing so for a loss”.
The figures are unchanged since May, when a YouGov poll found 44% of the public believing in the first option, 32% in the second and 9% in the third.
Stephen Hester has been chief executive of RBS since he was appointed in 2008 following the financial crisis. He says he confesses “some human regrets” at not being able to see RBS through to privatisation, but will walk away with a pay-out worth up to £5.8 million.