British Chancellor George Osborne said the government will compensate any British government and military personnel whose bank accounts in Cyprus may be affected by the EU bailout levy.
European officials said people with less than €100,000 in their accounts will have to pay a one-time tax of 6.75% while those with more money will lose 9.9%.
Speaking on The Andrew Marr Show yesterday, Mr Osborne said: “For people serving in our military, for people serving our government out in Cyprus — because we have military bases there — we are going to compensate anyone who is affected by this bank tax, people who are doing their duty for our country in Cyprus will be protected from this Cypriot bank tax.”
The assurance comes after speculation yesterday that about 3,500 British military personnel in Cyprus would face having their savings snatched.
Mr Osborne credited Prime Minister David Cameron for ensuring Britain is not part of the bailout and alluded to statements posted on the websites of Bank of Cyprus UK and Laiki Bank UK assuring UK customers that their deposits would not be affected by the levy.
“First of all, that is an example, in Cyprus, if you don’t show the world that you can pay your way.”
He added: “What I’d say specifically about the Cyprus situation — first of all, we are not part of the bailout because David Cameron got us out of these euro bailouts when he became prime minister.
“Second, I’d say that the Cypriot banks in Britain — this is important because there are many thousands of people who bank with Cypriot banks in Britain — those banks are not going to be included in this bank tax.”
Mr Osborne also called on people who despair at the UK economy to look at what is going on in Cyprus and realise that economic difficulties are widespread.
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