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Equilibrium's Finance and Investment News Roundup

Following the Conservative Party's overall majority win in the General Election, we look at the government's new-look cabinet and its plans for the European Union, whilst also discussing the latest UK interest rate decision and news of further sales of shares in Lloyds.


All-Conservative cabinet meets after election win

The new all-Conservative cabinet has met for the first time following the party's overall majority win in last week's General Election. David Cameron remains the UK's Prime Minister after his party emerged victorious in an election that was far more one-sided than many had predicted, and he has now put together the UK's first all-Tory cabinet for 18 years as he begins his second term in 10 Downing Street.

As part of the reshuffle, Amber Rudd is Energy and Climate Secretary, Michael Gove is Justice Secretary, Greg Hands is Chief Secretary to the Treasury and Sajid Javid is Business Secretary, while George Osborne remains Chancellor of the Exchequer and Theresa May has been reappointed Home Secretary.

Mr Cameron has vowed that the Conservatives are "the real party of working people" and has claimed this government will help people to enjoy "the dignity of a job, the pride of a pay cheque, a home of their own and the security and peace of mind that comes from being able to support a family". 

New UK government 'will be constructive in EU talks'

The UK's new all-Conservative government will be constructive in its negotiations with other members of the European Union (EU), but will also be firm as it looks to achieve what's best for working people in Britain. This is according to Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, who explained ahead of a meeting of EU finance ministers in Brussels that while the UK will be engaged in negotiations about reforming the bloc, the nation will definitely be holding a referendum on its membership of the EU by 2017.

Mr Osborne stated: "[We have] a very clear mandate to improve Britain's relationship with the rest of the EU and to reform the EU so that it creates jobs and increases living standards for all its citizens."  

Bank of England keeps interest rates at record low

The Bank of England (BoE) has revealed that interest rates in the UK will remain at record lows for another month. Delayed due to the election, the announcement comes more than six years after the record low of 0.5% was first introduced.

The decision on whether to raise or lower interest rates sits with the Monetary Policy Committee, and by keeping them the same, the current levels should continue to help mortgage borrowers because they correlate with lower repayments. The BoE also announced its quantitative easing stimulus programme will remain at £375 billion. 

Treasury sells further £500m Lloyds shares

The Treasury has sold a further £500 million worth of shares in Lloyds Banking Group, reducing its stake in the bank by another 1%. The move came as the Conservative overall majority election win resulted in the bank's shares increasing to multi-year highs.

As a result of the sale, the Treasury now holds a 19.93% stake in the bank and has raised a total of more than £10 billion from sales of shares since the bank was rescued after falling into trouble during the financial crisis between 2007 and 2009.