Sarkozy calls for bank 'Tobin tax'

The French President Nicolas Sarkozy opened his presidency of the G20 group of nations yesterday by calling for a $100bn (£62bn) tax on banks. The so-called "Tobin tax" on transactions has been championed by organisations such as Oxfam and the TUC, but the financial services industry vehemently opposes it.

It came as the banking industry sought to launch a fightback against recent criticism. Industry sources said a deal on small-business lending – expected this week – would likely be announced next week, while the City of London Corporation published research saying London made a net contribution of £1.4bn to the UK exchequer last year. It said that would rise sharply in future years. Barclays is also considering radical reforms to the way it pays bonuses, although a spokesman said this was not finalised.