Britain would not participate in any proposed European Union financial transaction tax, Business Secretary Vince Cable said on Wednesday, adding it was up to euro zone members to decide if they wanted to go it alone.
Cable said Germany's stance on the taxation issue was completely unjustified.
On Tuesday, a senior member of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative bloc, Volker Kauder, accused Britain of being too self-centred in its relationship with Europe.
Kauder said it was not acceptable for Britain to be only defending its own interests and that if the whole EU did not agree to implement the financial transactions tax, the euro zone should go it alone.
Britain has consistently opposed such a tax unless it were imposed on all world financial centres, to avoid putting London at a disadvantage.
Cable noted Britain already had a tax on bank balance sheets.
It's a good system and we are going to deal with taxation of the banks and financial services in a way that suits British conditions, he told Reuters.
I think the Germans are (taking) a completely unjustified position. It's not widely understood that the purpose of the European proposal is to get more revenue for the European budget.
I don't think, frankly, people in this country want to see a new tax on financial services, which they will ultimately pay for, by being diverted into a common market agricultural policy and roads that go to nowhere.
That is not a sensible way of dealing with things, he said, adding that most of the revenue of any transactions tax would come from Britain.
Speaking on the sidelines of a meeting on unemployment, Cable said the decision on whether to go it alone without Britain was up to the euro zone itself.
The experience in the past of countries that have gone it alone, like Sweden, is that they actually finish up losing money, he said.
So unless you deal with all financial centres, it doesn't work -- but that's for them.
(Reporting by Adrian Croft and Keith Weir; Editing by Stephen Nisbet)