* UK lawmakers call for UK to shape tax debate
* 11 EU member states meet on Thursday to discuss tax plan
By Huw Jones
LONDON, Dec 10 Britain should cultivate allies
and use its clout to stop a tax on financial transactions in 11
European Union countries from harming the City of London, a
panel of UK lawmakers said.
The committee from the House of Lords (upper house) also
said in a report on Tuesday the planned tax on derivative, bond
and share trades was flawed and would undermine the EU single
"The government should be more closely involved in defending
the single market. They don't find allies and there is a real
and present danger to the City of London, Europe's most
important financial centre," the committee's chairman, Lyndon
Harrison, told Reuters.
The tax is aimed at clawing back money from banks after the
taxpayer money their received in the 2007-09 financial crisis.
Eleven EU countries, but not Britain, have agreed to push
ahead with a tax and will meet on Thursday amid a growing legal
battle over the plan's legality.
Banks in London are worried that although Britain won't be
part of the tax, securities trading in the bloc's biggest market
will be disrupted in unforeseen and damaging ways.
Harrison said Britain cannot simply sit back, though he
welcomed the UK's legal challenge to the tax in the EU's highest
court in a case which could take some time.
"Instead of wielding the considerable strength that we have
as the premium financial centre, we are reluctant. Our
colleagues in Europe want us to be in, commenting and cajoling
to demonstrate our faith in the single market," Harrison said.
The report calls on the EU to explain how the tax will be
collected in countries not taking part.
The plan risks driving transactions offshore and there was
no realistic incentive that could be paid to Hong Kong,
Singapore or New York to collect the tax, the report said.
Few believe the tax will be implemented as currently
proposed given pressure from France and others for a less
ambitious stamp duty on shares limited to where the securities
Legal counsel for member states have already said that one
core element breaks EU and international law.
This refers to levying the tax anywhere in the world, its
so-called extraterritorial effect, if one side of a trade is
"established" in one of the 11 participating countries.
Last week Reuters reported that lawyers at the European
Commission have rebutted these accusations in a new legal