Business

Lord Lawson condemns 'perverse' EU financial tax plan

Lord Lawson
Image caption Lord Lawson was chancellor in Margaret Thatcher's government for six years

Former Chancellor of the Exchequer Lord Lawson has spoken out against the proposed EU proposal for a financial transaction tax.

The FTT aims to discourage speculative trading by taxing transactions of shares, currencies and bonds.

In a foreword to a new paper by free-market think tank the Centre for Policy Studies, Lord Lawson attacks the FTT.

He says the proposed tax, which is supported by France and Germany, is "both perverse and unacceptable".

Lord Lawson, chancellor in Margaret Thatcher's Conservative administration from 1983 to 1989, also says that such a tax would "drive business away from London, to the benefit of New York".

The former cabinet minister, who called this month on the UK to leave the EU, adds that the tax is "designed both to punish the bankers and to raise money for the EU budget".

Businesses concerned

David Cameron reiterated British opposition to the tax this month, saying it was "not a good idea".

The tax would not work unless it was "applied globally", the prime minister said.

Last month, the UK government launched a legal challenge to the plans in the European Court of Justice.

Of 27 EU member states, 11 have signed up to the proposals: Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Austria, Portugal, Greece, Slovenia, Slovakia and Estonia.

Business lobby groups are concerned that British companies trading with the UK branches of French or German banks could be hit by the tax.

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