UK could impose US-style banks levy - Myners

THE UK could still impose a US-style levy on banks to recoup money from the taxpayer bailout, City minister Lord Myners suggested today.

Despite Chancellor Alistair Darling appearing to rule out the prospect, Lord Myners said discussions on a global scheme were continuing.

US president Barack Obama is to hit financial institutions with a 0.15 per cent charge on liabilities in a bid to recoup at least 90 billion US dollars (55.3 billion) of public money spent rescuing the sector from collapse.

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But Mr Darling told The Scotsman last week that the British Government would not go down that route.

"No, we are not. The Americans are doing something different," he said.

However, asked repeatedly on BBC Radio 4's Today programme today whether copying the move had been ruled out, Lord Myners said ministers wanted to "promote a global debate about this".

"We are looking at a very broad range of principles because these are areas where we have to work as part of an international co-ordinated response," he said.

"Because we do not want to disadvantage the UK in an industry - banking and financial services - in which we have global leadership."

The Tories have said they would support a US-style levy if international agreement could be secured for it to be applied across major economies.