UK
23/07/2013 07:03 BST

Boris Johnson: European Banks Should Flee To UK To Avoid Financial Transactions Tax

PA
Mayor of London Boris Johnson speaks during the Lord Mayor of the City of London's annual London Government Dinner at Mansion House, London.

French, Italian and Spanish banks should flee to Britain to avoid the threat of the European Financial Transactions Tax, London Mayor Boris Johnson has said.

In a speech to an audience of the British Bankers' Association on Monday night, Johnson said: "I say to EU officials thinking of a Financial Transaction Tax go ahead, be my guest and then I would advise German, Italian and Spanish banks to move their HQs here to London so that they can escape the tax on their operations around the world."

The financial transaction tax has got the support of 11 EU countries but has met legal challenges from the UK. The proposed small levy would apply to transactions of currencies, bonds and shares, with supporters claiming it owuld raise £30 billion a year.

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Johnson also urged the public to drop its “anger” against bankers and avoid the “destructiveness of banker-bashing”. He said bankers could speed the repair of their image by working with charities and taking on apprentices.

"I hope and believe that we will see an end to the anger and destructiveness of banker-bashing and of course we can speed up that process as banks do more to take on apprentices and engage with charities and above all by showing that banks are the lifeblood of the economy, and that it is thanks to banks that we have cancer cures and drugs for alzheimers and it is thanks to the confidence shown by banks that London exports," he said.