UK's Cable changes tack on EU FTT bid
Thursday 17 November 2011 - by Will Henley
Vince Cable, the UK business secretary, has laid into European Union plans to introduce a bloc-wide financial transaction tax, in an apparent policy u-turn.
"What the European Union countries are proposing - and Angela Merkel - is a tax which is effectively a tax on Britain, the revenue of which would go to support the EU budget," he told Channel 4 News.
"We are not going to fall for that. It is completely irrelevant to the really urgent needs to sort out the problem of the eurozone. So, of course, we react to that and are critical of that."
In October 2010 Cable, told his party's annual conference in the north of England, that the FTT "remains an option, particularly if the banks decide to splay out lots of money in bonuses and dividends at a time when small businesses are being starved. The case for taking action is a compelling one."
"[You would need] a critical mass of countries - Britain, Germany, Switzerland, France, for example - who can run with this. That would be the way to proceed."
Speaking on Wednesday, the influential Liberal Democrat, who has attracted fierce criticism in the past for attacking financial sector "spivs", maintained that he has "no objection in principle" to a global transaction tax.
The remarks came as European Commission president José Manuel Barroso, setting out a work programme for 2012, said the FTT, among other regulations, would be "critical" to ensuring a European recovery.
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