UK's King takes swipe at plan for European trading tax

LONDON Wed May 15, 2013 7:49am EDT

LONDON May 15 (Reuters) - Mervyn King, the outgoing governor of the Bank of England, heaped criticism on a planned tax on financial transactions in Europe, saying it was unlikely to help the region's embattled economy.

"I don't think it is likely to help very much, and indeed the thing I find most striking is that here in Europe I can't find anyone in the central-banking community who thinks it's a good idea," King told reporters on Wednesday, after presenting his last set of quarterly economic forecasts.

Germany and 10 other countries agreed in January to a tax on trading in financial markets, which could be launched as soon as January 2014, as a way to help pay for the costs of the financial crisis.

Britain has challenged the plan in court, expressing concern that it would affect transactions carried out beyond the countries that sign up for it, including in the City of London.

"I do hear an enormous scepticism even from quarters which are alleged to be behind it," King said.

Last week, Germany's finance minister played down expectations that the tax could be introduced soon, saying it was not an urgent matter and could take a long time to be finalised.

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