Brown: bank levy is close

Steve Dinneen
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GORDON Brown yesterday claimed the world’s leading economies were close to agreeing a global bank tax.

He said opinions had shifted in favour of the tax after President Barack Obama’s announcement last month of a $90bn (£58m) banking levy. Brown said: “I’m interested in the way support is building up for international action. People are now prepared to consider the best mechanism by which a levy could be raised.”

Brown’s last idea for a coordinated tax on banks was the so-called “Tobin tax” on transactions, but this was rejected by the US. But he now believes the IMF are ready to back a banking levy.

Brown is looking to the G20 summit in June, when he hopes the world’s leading economies can thrash out a deal. Other options being considered are a tax on profits, turnover, or remuneration, similar to Alistair Darling’s 50 per cent bonus tax. Support for an international insurance levy is said to have cooled after it was suggested banks may see it as a green light to take risks.

Brown told the Financial Times yesterday that there had been no argument with Alistair Darling on the pace of cutting Britain’s £178bn deficit.