I love you, I want you, have a £4bn tax hike

Andrea Leadsom forgot about the £4bn raid on banks yesterday
TREASURY minister Andrea Leadsom showered praise on the financial services sector at City Week yesterday, telling the global crowd: “It is a Conservative government that will relentlessly focus on providing those pro-growth, pro-business, pro-financial policies.

“You can spread opportunity and prosperity throughout the country,” she gushed. “In short, when you succeed, the UK succeeds.”

Leadsom said last week’s Budget helped finance, with measures for savers and pensioners.

But oddly enough, she forgot the big­gest measures in the tax and spending plans – the bank levy.

The £4bn raid on banks funded those other changes, and does not look much like a pro-finance policy.

The 0.21 per cent charge on banks’ balance sheets is almost tailor-made to dissuade foreign banks from doing business here, and to disadvantage UK banks when doing business abroad.

When base rates are 0.5 per cent, a charge of 0.21 per cent on any loan is an enormous burden.

Leadsom, seemingly all for taking more of a slice of the City’s profits, was not quite so keen on taking the Square Mile’s questions fol­lowing her speech.