UK 'could still impose US-style bank levies'

The UK could still impose a US-style levy on banks to recoup money from the taxpayer bailout, City minister Paul Myners suggested today.

The UK could still impose a US-style levy on banks to recoup money from the taxpayer bailout, City minister Paul Myners suggested today.

Despite British Chancellor Alistair Darling appearing to rule out the prospect, Myners said discussions on a global scheme were continuing.

US president Barack Obama is to hit financial institutions with a 0.15% charge on liabilities in a bid to recoup at least $90bn (€62.6bn) of public money spent rescuing the sector from collapse.

Mr Darling told The Scotsman last week that the British Government would not go down that route.

"No, we are not. The Americans are doing something different," he said.

However, asked repeatedly on BBC Radio 4's 'Today' programme today whether copying the move had been ruled out, Myners said 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 opposition Conservative Party have said they would support a US-style levy if international agreement could be secured for it to be applied across major economies.

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