Britain hosts G-7 meeting

Britain will host a meeting of
finance officials from the Group of Seven nations on 25 January to discuss
measures to protect the public from future bank failures, including a proposed
global insurance levy.

The meeting of senior G-7 civil
servants, representatives from the International Monetary Fund and the
Financial Stability Board, will feed into an IMF report due out in April, a
Treasury spokesman said on customary condition of anonymity.

The officials will also discuss the
use of contingent capital, the holding of debt instruments by banks that could
be converted quickly into equity in times of stress.

Britain’s Financial Services
Minister Paul Myners, who will host the meeting, said he wanted to promote a global
debate about a U.S. style insurance levy as part of a wider discussion about
protecting taxpayers.

“We
are looking at a very broad range of principles because these are areas where
we have to work as part of an international co-ordinated response,” Myners
told BBC radio.    The meeting follows
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s call at November’s meeting of finance
ministers from the Group of 20 rich and developing countries for consideration
of a number of measures to protect taxpayers.

Brown also raised the idea of a tax
on financial transactions, but that is not on the table for the London meeting
of finance officials.

The push for a global insurance
levy has been gathering steam since U.S. President Barack Obama announced plans
last week to tax U.S. banks to recoup the public bailout of foundering firms at
the height of the financial crisis.

Obama is proposing a tax of 0.15
per cent on the liabilities of large financial institutions. It would apply
only to those companies with assets of more than $50 billion — a group estimated
at about 50.

British Treasury
chief Alistair Darling, who introduced a one-off tax on bankers’ bonuses this
year, said over the weekend that Britain is not considering a U.S.-style levy.

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