By Jonathan Davies

The government could begin the process of selling shares in the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) as early as today (Monday), according to a report by the BBC.

The Treasury and the bank have so far refused to comment, but it is understood that UK Financial Investments, the body that manages the government's stake in RBS and Lloyds Banking Group, could look to appoint an investment firm to manage the sale.

However, it is believed that the Treasury is proceeding with caution due to uncertainty surrounding investor appetite for shares. If there is not enough interest, another sale may be attempted in September.

The government, which owns 80% of RBS after the £45 billion bailout during the financial crisis, is likely to make a loss on the bank's shares. The Treasury paid 500p per share in 2008, but shares currently stand at around 342p. In June, it surfaced that the difference in share price would likely result in the [nurl= losing £7 billion on the sale[/nurl].