Fraser Nelson

A tale of two FTs

A tale of two FTs
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The Spectator isn't in favour of many taxes, but we are calling for a mandatory insurance premium for banks. Depending on which version of the FT you picked up today, it seems the banks are agreeing to this too. But are they agreeing to a tax, or a fee? Even the FT isn't sure - and has two different versions in two editions (pictured).  "Some of the world's most prominent bankers have come out in favour of a global tax on banks," says the first edition with a report from Patrick Jenkins in Davos. But later editions changed this to "a global bank wind-down fund" (ie, voluntary) and in the headline "global tax" is replaced with "global fee". So what's up? It is not just a ruse to make sure they get the traffic from Drudge (which has the 'tax' line high up) but rather I suspect the banks realise they are in self-regulation territory - and their only hope of avoiding a tax, such as The Spectator is calling for, is to be seen to introduce this themselves as some kind of fund. You can bet a state-mandated tax would be a lot more expensive. So it will be a voluntary fee, dressed up as a mandatory tax - but dressed up so well that even the FT won't notice which is which.

Written byFraser Nelson

Fraser Nelson is the editor of The Spectator. He is also a columnist with The Daily Telegraph, a member of the advisory board of the Centre for Social Justice and the Centre for Policy Studies.

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