Tags: EU | Britain | Bank | Tax

U.K. Treasury Chief Urges Fast Approval of Bank Tax

Wednesday, 24 Mar 2010 11:04 AM

Britain's Treasury chief called Wednesday for swift international agreement for a levy on banks to recoup the cost of saving them from collapse.

While announcing his latest budget, Alistair Darling said it would be foolish for Britain to impose such a tax without broad international agreement, disagreeing with Conservative Party leader David Cameron's pledge to go it alone if necessary.

"More countries now agree on the need for an international systemic tax on banks," Darling said.

"This must be brought forward quickly, as I will urge international finance ministers in Washington next month."

U.S. President Barack Obama has proposed a 0.15 percent tax which would continue for at least a decade, to be paid by about 50 of the biggest banks.

On Monday, the German government said it planned to introduce a levy to insure that banks pay the costs of any future crises. Leaders of Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition agreed that "banks cannot in future gamble at the taxpayer's expense," said Volker Kauder, the parliamentary leader of her conservative bloc.

Austria's chancellor Werner Faymann also said Monday that the government wants to introduce a bank tax to boost its budget, raising about 500 million euros ($680 million) per year.

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