To date shares in the bailed-out bank have only been offered to institutional investors, but the pledge follows hot on the heels of the successful listing of Royal Mail, when the public rushed to take part in the IPO.
Covering the reforms of the financial system, Osborne used the Autumn Statement to outline his hopes for Lloyds.
He said: “In September the government began the process of returning Lloyds Banking Group to full private ownership by selling 15.5% of its shares in the bank. While the first sale was aimed at institutional investors, the government would like to give the British public the opportunity to participate directly in future sales when the time is right.
“UK Financial Investments is conducting research to assess potential demand and developing the best mechanism for retail investors to participate. These preparations will allow those who rescued the bank to participate in its exit from government ownership.”
Lloyds’ return to private hands has been widely anticipated since the bank swung back into profit, and after soundings by rival Royal Bank of Scotland, which also bailed out in the crisis, to become private in 2014.
The government said it would consider the “appropriate timing and format” for investors’ participation in any sale. They said this was in light of its “overriding concern to ensure the taxpayer gets value for money for the sale of the shares”.
It did not provide any further information, though, on the potential scale or timing of the sale of its remaining stake in the bank.