Chancellor Alistair Darling has insisted he is in no ``hurry“ to sell off parts of Newcastle-based Northern Rock.
At Commons Question Time, Mr Darling said he wanted to secure the ``best possible deal“ for taxpayers.
His comments came after reports that the Treasury is preparing to sell part of the bank back to the private sector this year.
Liberal Democrat treasury spokesman Vince Cable raised the issue at question time, demanding: ``Why are you proposing to sell the good parts of Northern Rock this year, when, under current market conditions, it will almost certainly guarantee a very large loss, rather than waiting for market conditions to improve and getting better value for money for the taxpayer.”
Mr Darling said he had always been clear that his objective, ``once we get through this“, was to return the nationalised banks to the private sector.
``I don’t believe the Government ought to be in the business of running banks in the long term.”
He said: ``The question is when do we sell those banks into the private sector and that will be determined by what represents the best value for money for the taxpayer