World leaders have opened the door to a tax on currency transactions that could help developing nations to recover from debt. A last-minute commitment slipped into the communiqué from the G20 summit in Pittsburgh pledged to look at the levy after pressure from Germany and France.
The Independent on Sunday reported last week that Britain was stalling on the proposal, despite figures showing that sub-Saharan Africa is £40bn in the red because of the world crash.
The Treasury was opposed to the move, but its inclusion in the G20 document means that all countries are committed to it being on the table.
The G20 leaders' statement said: "We ask the IMF to prepare a report for our next meeting with regard to the range of options countries have adopted or are considering as to how the financial sector could make a fair and substantial contribution toward paying for any burdens associated with government interventions to repair the banking system."
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy lobbied heavily for the tax. The levy – known as the "Tobin tax" – is calculated to raise between £18bn and £30bn. It has been backed by the FSA chairman, Lord Turner.
Max Lawson, Oxfam's senior policy adviser, said: "The G20 promised to prevent reckless 'banking as usual' but they also have a responsibility to help its victims. Leaders today opened the door for a tax on currency transactions, an obvious way for bankers to pay to clear up the mess they created."Reuse content