Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt attempted to evoke nostalgia for the Conservative Party’s privatisation boom of decades past in his last Autumn Statement.

Mr Hunt referenced the famous Tell Sid television advertising campaign adopted by the Thatcher administration to promote the sale of shares in British Gas in the 1980s as he revealed the current UK Government’s plan to launch a retail offer for its stake in Edinburgh-based NatWest Group.

The owner of Royal Bank of Scotland moved into public ownership after it was bailed out by the UK Government for £45.5 billion during the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009. The rescue deal led to taxpayers holding an 82% stake in the bank, however that shareholding is now just below 27%, following recent share sales by the Treasury via a directed buyback.

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“It’s time to get Sid investing again,” the Chancellor declared in November.

NatWest chief executive Paul Thwaite has recently extolled the importance of the bank making a full return to private hands, amid expectations that the share of the Government’s stake could raise around £6 billion.

However, now that Mr Hunt’s boss Rishi Sunak has called a General Election on July 4, it seems Sid may not be making a comeback after all.

Lindsay James, investment strategist at wealth management business Quilter Investors, said the proposed offer, which could have taken place was early as the summer, was now “in limbo”.

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"This retail offer, along with other initiatives such as the UK ISA, was part of the Government’s package of ideas to help reinvigorate the UK stock market and a public investing culture,” Ms James said. “The news that the General Election will derail the timing of this and likely become the responsibility of the next government leaves those plans somewhat in a state of limbo.

“The government proposed a similar scheme with its ownership of Lloyds back in 2015, but that never saw the light of day. With political uncertainty now in place, there is every possibility the same happens with these shares in NatWest.”

NatWest has declined to comment on what the calling of the election may mean for the prospects of the retail offer.

Shares in the bank were trading down more than 2% at 307p at 3.30pm today.