Well-off people who bought Royal Mail shares in the government’s sell-off were able to reap an instant profit of more than £300 as soon as the shares started trading on 15 October and the shares rose from the 330p sell-off price to 490p.
Big banks who bought larger slabs of shares have made bigger gains.
The hand-out here to the rich and the well-off is not a mistake or misjudgement by the government. All the big privatisations by the Thatcher government had the same thing: share prices rose as soon as the shares began trading, and those who had bought in got immediate gains.
This government and the Thatcher government, keen to cut social spending, are also keen to spend taxpayers' money to provide those gains for the share-traders.
Doing so ensures that the sell-off is a "success" — the demand for shares is bigger than the supply. It avoids the risk of the government being embarrassed by some shares remaining unsold. And it consolidates enthusiasm for the government among a significant layer of its habitual supporters.
Remember that next time the government says that social cuts are necessary.