Britain, France, Germany agree bank levies: joint statement

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Britain, France and Germany have agreed to introduce levies on banks to make them help pay for global recovery, they said in a joint statement Tuesday.

"The governments of France, the United Kingdom and Germany propose to introduce bank levies based on banks' balance sheets," they said, as Britain's finance minister announced a banking tax from next January.

The action is to that ensure banks "make a fair and substantial contribution towards paying for any burdens associated with government interventions to repair the banking system or fund resolution in a financial crisis," it added.

"The United Kingdom bank tax is announced today," the statement said, referring to Osborne's emergency budget, unveiled after Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservatives won elections last month.

It noted that Germany announced a framework for a national bank levy at the end of March "and will present draft legislation in the Cabinet in summer".

France "will present the details of its bank tax in the coming budget", due later this year, it added.

"All three levies will aim to ensure that banks make a fair contribution to reflect the risks they pose to the financial system and wider economy, and to encourage banks to adjust their balance sheets to reduce this risk," it said.

"The specific design of each may differ to reflect our different domestic circumstances and tax systems, but the level of the levy will take into consideration the need to ensure a level playing field."

The statement added that British, French and German leaders "look forward to discussing these proposals further with international partners" at a Group of 20 summit in Canada next weekend.

© 2010 AFP

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