by Luke James
Bosses of bailed-out Lloyds bank revealed today they will hand a massive 70 per cent of profits to shareholders in a bid to speed up privatisation plans.
Chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio issued the invitation to asset-strip the part-publicly owned bank because private investors have so far only shown modest interest.
The government owns 40 per cent of Lloyds, acquired when it saved the bank from collapse in 2008 with £17 billion of public money.
Ministers are desperate to flog the stake - and so cut the public out of dividend payments - because of their privatisation obsession and have offered Mr Horta-Osorio a £2 million bonus to deliver the sale.
His plans to give away a staggering 70 per cent of profits by 2016 would mean that Lloyds pays higher dividends to shareholders than any other bank.
Leading left-wing economist Andrew Fisher said it was a "slap in the face for the British public, who bailed out banks like Lloyds.
"It makes it clear that what many of us have said all along is true - we nationalised the debts, while the profits are privatised," said the Left Economics Advisory Panel co-ordinator.
"Lloyds's grotesque dividend and executive pay bonanza comes at the expense of its customers, the taxpayer and its own staff - at a time when over 3,000 job cuts have been announced."
This article first appeared in the Morning Star