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Business Comment

Ben Chu: The lonely FTT finally finds some friends

Outlook Speaking of Europe, the commission's Financial Transaction Tax has been turning the City lobby puce with rage. The proposed levy on bond and derivative trading gets many dirty looks. And not just in London. Sir Mervyn King recently let slip that even the FTT's friends secretly dislike it. Now that's unpopularity. So it was good to see the pro case put by Avinash Persaud and Paul Myners in the Financial Times this week.

Personally, I'm still uncomfortable with the FTT, mainly because it's simultaneously sold as a way of recouping past bailout costs from the financial industry, slowing down high-frequency trading and also paying for lots of nice things. That smacks of wishful thinking.

And yet it's hard to deny that trading is undertaxed relative to other transactions. And does anyone still buy that guff about the endless churn of financial assets making us all better off?