Myners refuses to rule out US-style levy on the banks

CITY Minister Lord Myners yesterday warned that a US-style levy on banks could still be slapped on the UK.

But just hours later, the Prime Minister’s spokesman appeared to rule out such a move.

US president Barack Obama is hitting Wall Street banks with a 0.15 per cent charge on liabilities in a bid to recoup at least $90bn (£55.3bn) of taxpayers’ money spent on bailing out struggling lenders.

When asked if the UK had ruled out copying the US system Myners told BBC Radio 4 that ministers wanted to “promote a global debate about this”.

“We are looking at a very broad range of principles because these are areas where we have to work as part of an international co-ordinated response,” he said.

“Because we do not want to disadvantage the UK in an industry – banking and financial services – in which we have global leadership.”

The Prime Minister’s spokesman said the government would not copy the US because it is planning to make a profit when it sells its stakes in banks back to the market.