By Jonathan Davies

The government is set to lose £7 billion from the sale of its Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) shares.

The government paid 500p per share when it bailed out the bank in 2008, totaling £45.5bn. But with shares currently sitting at 354.8p, the taxpayer will only recoup around £38bn from the sell-off.

But business secretary Sajid Javid said: "Overall the taxpayer will gain £14bn...It's in the interest of the taxpayer that we have a competitive banking industry."

The Unite union accused the government of "short changing the public".

The governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney said it "would promote financial stability" and benefit the economy.

The Chancellor George Obsorne announced the plans to sell-of RBS shares at his Mansion House speech.

Mr Osborne said: "It's the right thing to do for British businesses and British taxpayers. Yes, we may get a lower price than that was paid for it - but we will get the best price possible. For the longer we wait, the higher the price the whole economy will pay."

RBS's chief executive, Ross McEwan, said: "I welcome this evening's announcement from the chancellor and we are pushing ahead with our strategy to build a simpler, stronger, fairer bank that is totally focused on the needs of its customers and centred here in the UK.

During the speech, he also confirmed more details for the sale of more Royal Mail shares. A further 1% will go to staff and 15% will be sold to institutional investors.