Labour accuses Osborne of hypocrisy on Tobin tax

GEORGE Osborne, the chancellor, was accused of hypocrisy over his position on a Tobin tax yesterday, after City A.M. revealed he had doubts over such a levy despite publicly saying he would support one if adopted globally.

Chris Leslie, the Labour shadow Treasury minister, said: “For all his warm words in public about backing an international financial transactions tax, we now know the chancellor is giving the banks nods and winks in private that he wouldn’t support one – even if it is agreed internationally.”

Yesterday, City A.M. published parts of a private letter from Osborne to bank chiefs, in which he assured them that “there would need to be further discussions about whether any financial transactions tax model offers an efficient mechanism to raise revenue”.

Leslie said: “This revelation explains why George Osborne has failed to put this issue on the international agenda in the last 18 months and why he won’t be pushing for it at this week’s G20 summit.”

Meanwhile, David Cameron, the Prime Minister, yesterday maintained that the government supported a Tobin tax “in principle” – despite Osborne’s private doubts about whether a levy could raise any revenue.