Britain’s Brown says global bank tax near: report

Britain’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said major economies are close to agreeing a global bank tax and hinted a deal could be reached at a G20 summit in June, in an interview published Thursday.

“I’m interested in the way support is building up for international action,” he told the Financial Times.

Brown, who strongly backs a tax on financial transactions, believes opinion shifted in favour of a global levy after US President Barack Obama’s proposal last month to raise 90 billion dollars from banks in 10 years, said the paper.

The prime minister has been promoting the idea of a global bank tax, urging leading economies to consider the move to make banks more accountable to society amid fears that the United States might act alone.

“Look out for the G20,” Brown told the paper, hinting at a possible deal on the bank tax at the meeting of major world economies in Canada in June.

“People are now prepared to consider the best mechanism by which a levy could be raised,” he said.

Britain hopes an agreement in principle can be agreed by world leaders at the June meeting but the details of how exactly it would work would take longer to thrash out, according to the report.

The G20 summit will take place after general elections in Britain, which are expected on May 6. Brown’s comment suggests he is still confident he can win the ballot, which most commentators think he will lose.

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