Lawson says European financial-transaction tax will hurt London

The U.K. is opposed to the tax

Former Chancellor of the Exchequer Nigel Lawson said the proposed European financial-transaction tax will damage London even though the U.K. isn’t participating.

Lawson, who said earlier this month he’d concluded Britain should leave the European Union, was writing in the introduction to a pamphlet attacking the tax from the Centre for Policy Studies. The U.K. is opposed to the tax, to which 11 EU members have signed up.

The EU estimates the tax, which could be collected worldwide, might raise 30 billion euros ($39 billion) to 35 billion euros a year. The plan would charge a 0.1 percent rate for stock and bond trades and 0.01 percent for derivatives transactions, with some exemptions for primary-market sales and trades with the European Central Bank.

“Designed both to punish the bankers and to raise money for the EU budget, its principal effect will be to drive financial business away from the EU (including the UK) to more hospitable jurisdictions elsewhere,” Lawson said. “There are only two world-class financial centers: London and New York. That it should be considered in the interests of Europe to drive business away from London to the benefit of New York is both perverse and unacceptable.”

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