TEXT OF INTERVIEW
Bob Moon: Banks could be facing a global tax to help prevent another financial crisis. Or so says U.K. prime minister Gordon Brown. In an interview published today, the British leader says the new tax could raise billions of dollars a year. Marketplace’s Stephen Beard joins us live from London. Good morning, Stephen.
Stephen Beard: Hello, Bob.
Moon: So what exactly is Brown proposing?
Beard: Well, he says that Germany, France and Britain, the three biggest European economies, want a new global banking tax. The U.S. is planning its own bank tax to pay for past bailouts, so Brown says he hopes that this will develop into a global agreement to slap a new levee on the banks.
Moon: And what sort of taxes are we talking about here?
Beard: Well, he says he’s got an open mind about this, but the tax, he said, should be uniform, so that banks don’t shop around for the lowest tax countries. He does, however, acknowledge this is unlikely to be, to go global before the summer. It’s more likely if this happens at all that it would not be until a G-20 summit in November. In other words, at the end of this year.
Moon: November, now that seems a long way off. Why are we talking about this now?
Beard: Well, Brown faces an election within weeks, there is a connection. Banker bashing is very popular here — we’ve just had the business secretary, you know, launching a savage attack on the boss of Barclays bank, calling him “socially useless” and saying he doesn’t deserve his multimillion-dollar pay. This is an unusual attack from the ruling labor party, which won power 13 years ago projecting a more business-friendly image. Indeed back then, the business secretary himself said, “We are intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich.” Not anymore, it seems.
Moon: Stephen Beard in London, thank you.
Beard: OK, Bob.
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