By Jonathan Davies

Up to £4 billion worth of shares in Lloyds Bank would be sold at a cut-price to the public and small investors, if the Conservatives win the general election, Prime Minister David Cameron has announced.

Mr Cameron told the BBC that it would "help us recover billions more to pay down the national debt". He also confirmed that such sales would be part of the £9bn sales outlined by the Chancellor George Osborne during the Budget.

Those who keep their shares for a year will be rewarded with a loyalty bonus of an extra free share for every 10 they own, the Prime Minister said.

Labour said the Conservatives had revealed the plans several times before, but Mr Cameron said: "We haven't announced it before. We've said we want to see Lloyds back in the private sector but we haven't said there'll be a retail offer so they can own shares in healthy, successful British banks.

"The crucial point is it's more of clearing up the mess that Labour left us. The taxpayer put £20bn into these banks and I want to get the money back.

"We've already recovered billions and this will help us to recover billions more to pay down the national debt.

"But I think that at the same time that having people in our country being able to own shares in healthy, successful British banks is the sort of country we should be building."