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12 October 2012

60 per cent of FTT revenues would come from Britain (even if we “opted out“)

By Alex Hern

An interesting note from Ernst & Young’s ITEM club outlook has been going around today. It’s from way back in February, but I can’t find anything that contradicts it since:

The European Commission (EC) has not published detailed revenue estimates of the FTT at a national level, but the EC acknowledges they would be distributed unevenly in line with trading volumes at EU exchanges. The Ernst & Young ITEM Club has used the information provided by the Commission to consider the impact on the UK in two scenarios, the introduction of the FTT across the EU including the UK and the scenario if the UK opts out. 

[Neil Blake, senior economic adviser to the Ernst & Young ITEM Club] comments: “Taking the EC’s estimates at face-value, if the FTT is introduced across the EU, the UK financial sector would generate around 75 per cent of the total revenues.

“However, even if the UK were to opt out of the FTT, if a reverse charge mechanism was applied, we expect the UK financial sector would still contribute around 60 per cent of total revenues. Moreover, these revenues would flow directly to governments in the Eurozone rather than to the UK Exchequer.”

The financial transaction tax has been rather on the back foot in recent months. The eurocrisis has moved far beyond the level where simple government revenues could be imputed as a possible solution, while the debate in Britain was derailed by the veto-that-never-was. Most of the debate this summer, including on this blog, has focused on the tax’s behavioural effects, particularly with regard to high frequency trading.

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But the revenue benefits of the tax shouldn’t be forgotten. There’s a lot of trading which isn’t HFT, and which will go on largely unaffected by a transaction tax. And if 60 per cent of the revenue would come from Britain, that’s quite a lot of money which the Government wants to leave on the table.