Robin Hood Tax campaign goes live

A campaign for a Financial Transactions Tax (a "Robin Hood tax") of 0.05% is launched today. No other measure would raise so much money or do so little harm.

Today, the orthodoxy that the public deficits caused by the recession need to be dealt with by cuts in public services is being challenged. Unions, development charities, climate change campaigners and faith groups have launched a campaign that’s going to be even bigger than Make Poverty History. And this is one we can win.

A Financial Transactions Tax of the order of 0.05 per cent – that’s 50p for every £1,000 spent – could be implemented nationally, at European level or – ideally – globally. No other single measure would raise so much money or do so little harm. In one second, the tax would raise enough to provide 9,000 children in Africa with a pencil and an exercise book.

We call it a Robin Hood Tax because it will take from the rich and give to the poor. In Germany it’s the Tax Against Poverty. In the USA it’s the Financial Speculation Tax. But it all means putting a really small levy on wholesale financial transactions, to raise hundreds of billions of pounds, dollars or euros to pay for decent public services, tackle poverty at home and abroad, and meet the challenge of climate change.

The call for a global tax is backed in Europe by Gordon Brown, Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy. President Lula in Brazil and Prime Minister Zenawi in Ethiopia are keen. So is the Chancellor in Austria, the former head of the Bank of India, the Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi. Warren Buffet and George Soros, Joe Stiglitz and Paul Krugman – financiers and nobel prize winning economists are supporters.

The German, US and British campaigns are all broad coalitions of civil society organisations. At European level, Europeans for Financial Reform (led by the ETUC and the Party of European Socialists) are working with HIV/AIDS campaigners. The UK campaign’s 50th member – signed up in just four days – was the RSPB. Campaigners in South Africa, Japan and Canada have joined the regular campaign planning teleconferences.

Now people in Britain can have their say. Watch the campaign video below – a Richard Curtis special production starring Bill Nighy as the banker that bankers will want to be – and vote for (or against) our proposal at http://robinhoodtax.org.uk.

Which is it to be? A small tax on financial speculation to help people at home and abroad, and tackle climate change? Or swingeing cuts in public services?

Our guest writer is Owen Tudor, Head of International Relations at the TUC.

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10 Responses to “Robin Hood Tax campaign goes live”

  1. ToUChstone blog

    #~~> @LeftFootFwd for their story on Robin Hood Tax: http://ow.ly/15Odi #RHT

  2. Tyler

    Thank god there are people with a bit more foresight and it will never happen.

    – Banks already pay huge amounts of tax
    – It would have to be a global tax otherwise banks would move
    – Costs would be passed down to customers. It would make corporates less competative immediately, especially if they have any import/export business.
    – Costs would also get passed down to investors…the biggest of which are pension funds.

    Banks can and do make a lot of money. Which gets paid to employees, who pay lots of tax. In the UK banking alone accounts for about 10% of GDP. You are robbing Peter to pay Paul. You might see more tax revenue from this tax, but you won’t see any net increase. The banks won’t have as much money to lend to businesses and consumers/mortgages….which will slow down growth.

    Fortunately, as I say, it will never happen, but myopic left-wingers (including Stiglitz, who is as hard left as they come. I suppose that is why markets ignore him) will continue to shout about it.

  3. Rob

    The end of your article presents a false choice. That aside the idea of a tax on speculative actions, if inforced internationally, could be a good idea.

  4. Robin Hood

    RT @touchstoneblog #~~> @LeftFootFwd for their story on Robin Hood Tax: http://ow.ly/15Odi #RHT

  5. Oxfam Scotland

    RT @RobinHood: RT @touchstoneblog #~~> @LeftFootFwd for their story on Robin Hood Tax: http://ow.ly/15Odi #RHT

  6. Nikcara Hellershanks

    RT @robinhood: RT @touchstoneblog #~~> @LeftFootFwd for their story on Robin Hood Tax: http://ow.ly/15Odi #RHT

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