By Jonathan Davies

The government has confirmed that it will launch a retail share sale on Lloyds Bank "in the next 12 months".

The Chancellor George Osborne and Prime Minister David Cameron had previously said the government would allow small investors to purchase shares at a discounted price.

The scheme to sell-off shares was due to finish in June, the government said it will extend it until the end of 2015. It claims this will help Mr Osborne to meet his pledge of a further £9 billion in share sales in 2015/16.

The government also confirmed that another 1% of Lloyds shares have been sold, taking its stake to less than 19%.

The government took a 41% stake when it bailed out the bank during the financial crisis.