George Osborne has been accused of acting like Del Boy from Only Fools And Horses over the Royal Mail sell-off.
It’s emerged the Treasury has raked in up to £20 million in interest on leftover cash from the share issue.
It pocketed the windfall while holding on to money from savers who unsuccessfully applied for shares.
Labour’s Shadow Minister for Postal Affairs, Ian Murray, said: “Vince Cable and George Osborne are the political equivalent of Del Boy and Rodney. They’ve sold off our Royal Mail on the cheap and made a nice little earner.”
Many wannabe investors paid money upfront for shares which were floated at 330p earlier this month. But the offer was vastly oversubscribed meaning thousands missed out and were due to have their money returned.
Instead the coalition kept the cash, valued at nearly £1 billion, for up to three weeks, accruing hundreds of thousands of pounds in interest each day.
Shares in the company have soared. It means those who did get a slice, including the Government which retains around a third of the firm, have seen their investment increase by around 66%.
The Government has chosen not to appoint a non-executive director to the board of the new company. Non-executive directors are seen as having a crucial monitoring role to play.
Their failure to control bank chief executives was largely blamed for the industry going out of control.
Jonathan Isaby, of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Those unsuccessful in their applications should have had their money returned immediately.”
A spokeswoman for the department of Business, Innovation and Skills responded: “Bank instructions for applicable refunds were made or refund cheques were issued by the end of last week.
“In line with the objective to remove Government influence, we’ve taken the decision not to appoint a non-executive director.”