September 24, 2017 / 11:37 AM / 2 years ago

Scrap plan for new banking tax, London financiers tells UK opposition party

A view of the City of London and Canary Wharf. July 7, 2017. REUTERS/John Sibley /File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - A financial transaction tax proposed by Britain’s opposition Labour Party would risk the competitiveness of London’s financial centre, the City of London Corporation said on Sunday, calling for the proposal to be scrapped.

The leftist Labour Party, which is holding its annual conference in southern English town of Brighton, has advocated a so-called ‘Robin Hood’ tax to levy charges on bond and derivative trades. It says the tax could raise 4.7 billion pounds to fund higher public spending.

But the City of London Corporation, the body which administers policy in the central London financial district, criticised the policy.

“A financial transactions tax, however described, would be a unilateral policy which would weaken our hand and undermine our competitiveness,” said the corporation’s Policy Chairman, Catherine McGuinness.

Labour lost a general election in 2017, and one is not scheduled until 2022, but Labour is banking on Prime Minister Theresa May’s government falling sooner and has briefed financial institutions on its plan in recent months.

On the first main day of his party’s conference, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was asked about his approach to taxation said: “I don’t think I’m worried about taxing the super rich and the super wealthy.”

“The objective surely has to be stronger economic base for everybody in this country and dealing with the waste of poverty and inequality,” he told the BBC.

Reporting by William James; Editing by Toby Chopra

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