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British government may shoot down Robin Hood tax

A tour guide holds a Union Flag umbrella as she speaks to tourists outside Westminster Abbey in central London.

Steve Chiotakis: The British government's crying foul over a proposed European-wide tax on financial transactions. The tax is aimed at helping the eurozone deal with its debt crisis. But the Brits fear it may damage their financial center.

More from London and Marketplace's Stephen Beard.


Stephen Beard: It's called the Robin Hood Tax -- taking money from the rich financial institutions and giving it to the poor governments of Europe. The tax would levy 0.1 percent on every E.U. financial transaction -- that's every deal by banks, brokers, hedge funds, pension and insurance companies based here. The European Commission reckons the tax could raise nearly $80 billion a year.

But British Treasury minister Mark Hoban says Europe could be shooting itself in the foot.

Mark Hoban: If it's not done at a global level , it's not done as part of a comprehensive package then people will find a way round it. They'll move business out of Europe, somewhere else. So There's a lot of detail that has to be looked at.

London's financial center is by far the biggest in Europe, and could wind up paying 80 percent of the revenue raised from the Robin Hood Tax. Officials here say the U.K. is certain to veto the plan.

In London, I'm Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

About the author

Stephen Beard is the European bureau chief and provides daily coverage of Europe’s business and economic developments for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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