LONDON, April 5 (Reuters) - Prime Minister Gordon Brown said on Sunday he would be calling in the heads of British banks to discuss how new international rules on supervision of tax havens agreed at the G20 will be implemented.
He said this process would start on Monday with an initial meeting with Bank of England Governor Mervyn King and other top economic officials.
Finance minister Alistair Darling, Financial Services Authority Chairman Adair Turner and Trade and Investment Minister Mervyn Davies will also take part in the meeting, British officials confirmed on Saturday.
“I am going to call the banks in, and the Governor of the Bank of England is coming to see me on Monday,” Brown told Sky news in an interview recorded after the NATO summit in Strasbourg on Saturday.
“We have got to make sure that all this new regulation and supervision is effected in Britain. We have got to make sure that the tax havens that have got some relationship with Britain are conducting their affairs in such a way to justify the decisions that we made at the G20 that change is going to happen.”
Britain will call on a number of British territories that have not yet implemented pledges to sign agreements to exchange tax information with other countries to do so as soon as possible.
At Thursday’s G20 summit of leading industrial and developing economies in London, world leaders clinched a $1.1 trillion deal to combat the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and said financial rules would be tightened.
The summit promised a crackdown on jurisdictions that failed to cooperate in cross-border tax evasion cases.
Pushed by France and Germany, the G20 agreed that countries should sign up to global rules on sharing tax information or risk being placed on a blacklist.
A number of British territories that have not yet implemented pledges to exchange information figure on a “grey list” published by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, including Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Gibraltar and Turks and Caicos Islands.
Brown also stressed that the economy was his overriding priority when asked if he would consider calling an election after one opinion poll gave him a healthy post-G20 summit boost.
“I am not going to get into talk about dates. We have got to show people how we can take the country through this difficulty,” he said.
A YouGov poll for the Sunday Times showed Brown’s Labour Party had cut the Conservative lead to seven points as voters expressed their approval of the $1.1 trillion global economic stimulus package.
“Our first priority, and it is our first priority, is jobs and it’s homes and it’s businesses. That’s the only thing on my mind at the moment — how we can take the action that is necessary to take us through this downturn,” he said.
Brown must go to the polls by mid-2010. (Reporting by Frank Prenesti and Adrian Croft; Editing by Mike Nesbit)