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UK banks want levy phased out
06 Jul 2015 09:09
Britain's banks have called upon the government to phase out the bank levy, saying it is damaging the competitiveness of the industry and causing them to lose business to overseas rivals.
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The levy was initially introduced in 2011 not only to raise money but also to discourage banks from risky borrowing.
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It replaced a previous one-off tax on bankers' bonuses by the Labour government following the 2007-9 financial crisis.
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Its emphasis has changed to focus on generating revenue with Britain's finance minister George Osborne saying in March banks needed to make a greater contribution to repair the country's finances.
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Osborne increased the levy in March to 0.21% of a bank's assets from 0.16% previously.
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That lifted the amount the government aims to raise from the tax to £3.4 billion a year from £2.5 billion.
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Anthony Browne, chief executive of the British Bankers Association, said in a letter to Osborne on June 23 that the government should consider ways of reforming the tax.
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"Proposals to consider could include the levy to be capped in terms of its rate and a sunset clause introduced so that banks can begin to plan for a future without the levy," he said.
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The Chancellor will outline his economic plans in an emergency budget on Wednesday following May's general election.
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