Yesterday, Prime Minister Gordon Brown discussed the U.K. economic recovery over the past year and a half, noting that Britain can continue to "lead in the future global economy," but economic recovery "on a global basis" must be "balanced and sustainable." In addition to discussing developments in the U.K., the Prime Minister's speech also focused on implementing the initiatives outlined at the G20 meetings in Pittsburgh last year, noting that to avoid "default[ing] to former patterns and failed pathways," globally, the G20 governments must follow through with their commitments to "coordinate and commit to change national economic policies to aim for higher and sustainable global growth." He pointed specifically to financial regulation as a significant "acid test[s] for the G20 in 2010." He noted that the global banking system requires a "sounder, more accountable and, internationally consistent regime for capital," including "core requirements that banks hold much more, and much higher quality, capital."
In addition, any approaches to recouping taxpayer-funded crisis assistance must not be "incoherent and uncoordinated." He appeared to retreat from his previously proposed "global transactions tax," acknowledging that a levy on banks "seems likely to be the most practical approach." However, he emphasized that any such levy should "be designed go with the grain of necessary regulatory reform not cut across or remove the need for it" and "support globalization and avoid double-taxation of international banks," and that any levy proceeds "should be for national governments to use, whether to put them aside in a dedicated insurance fund, to repay interventions or to reduce public debt." Separately, yesterday, members of the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly to develop plans for a global tax to be presented to the G20 in June.