Repaying cost of credit crisis 'to take 18 years'

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The Independent Online

Britain's banks will not have repaid the cost of the financial crisis until 2026, a new report from the Robin Hood Tax campaign claims. The group, which is campaigning for a global tax on financial transactions, said its figures proved the levies introduced on the banks by thecurrent government did not go far enough – and nor did the alternatives proposed by Labour.

The Robin Hood Tax campaign pointed to figures from the International Monetary Fund that put the total additional UK government debt amassed as a result of the financial crisis in 2008 at £737bn.

On the basis of the £203bn in tax paid by British banks over the five previous years, it said it would take 18 years, from 2008 onwards, for them to have repaid that sum. "These figures nail once and for all the myth that the City of London is some sort of goose laying golden eggs for the taxpayer," said Max Lawson, a spokesman for the campaign.

Under the campaign's proposals, banks around the world would pay a 0.05 per cent tax on transactions, a duty that could raise as much as £250bn annually. However, while the idea has won some support in Europe, it has been rejected in the US and much of Asia.

A spokesman for the British Bankers Association said: "The banking industry is committed to its priorities: to ensure the UK's financial stability, to sustain the economic recovery, to ensure the Exchequer is repaid for its support during the global financial crisis as soon as possible, and to support the international process of regulatory reform."

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