After a ‘chastening’ year in which RBS made of loss of £5.2 billion, CEO of Stephen Hester told the Today programme today that government plans to reprivatise the bank is ‘within reach’.

After the fifth annual loss since being bailed out by UK tax payers, RBS, which is 82% owned by the tax payer, has been hit by £381 million Libor fixing fines, as well as having to put aside £450 million for missold PPI repayments.

It has come into some criticising for keeping the bonus pot at £600 million despite its substantial losses.

Hester defended the bonuses, claiming that a level playing field is important: ‘My job is deliver an RBS that other investors want to own shares in so the government has the option to sell,’ he said, indicating that this could take place within the next couple of years.

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