A thousand economists agree on something – the Robin Hood Tax

Dominic Browne reports on the thousand economists who have voiced their support for the robin hood tax to the G20 finance ministers.

A thousand economists from around the world have signed a letter backing a Robin Hood or Tobin Tax which would put a small levy on financial transactions.

The letter, which was signed by 127 UK economists – including Cambridge University economics professor Ha Joon Chang – has been delivered to G20 finance ministers in Washington and was also sent to Bill Gates to help in his search for ways to finance action against climate change.

The Telegraph’s Louise Armitstead reports:

The letter declares that the tax is “an idea that has come of age”. It adds: “Even at very low rates of 0.05pc or less, this tax could raise hundreds of billions of dollars annually and calm excessive speculation.”

Max Lawson, spokesman for the Robin Hood Tax Campaign, said: “If the G20 don’t want to listen to campaigners then they should listen to the experts.”

The Telegraph also quote Columbia University’s Jeffrey Sachs who is a special adviser to UN secretary general Ban Ki Moon:

“It is time for the G20 to agree to a tax on financial transactions to help poor countries struggling with climate, food and economic crises they did nothing to cause. The tax would also be a fair and efficient way to help close budget deficits in our own countries as well.”

Left Foot Forward reported last month that the European Parliament:

backed the report by Greek Socialist Anni Podimata to establish an EU-wide financial transactions tax (FTT) by a large majority of 529 votes to 127.

At the time, Ms Podimata had said:

“Citizens have been hit hard by the financial crisis and face growing unemployment. At the same time, the financial sector remains largely under-taxed and has this year enjoyed profits and bonuses at pre-crisis levels.”

Labour List have publicised Unite’s support for the tax, while Left Foot Forward recently reported Peter Tatchell’s support for the tax at the March for the Alternative; he said:

“I am really surprised that the Left and trade unions are not speaking more strongly for the Robin Hood Tax….unless we start promoting this alternative I don’t think we will win.”

Back in October last year Left Foot Forward’s Rayhan Haque wrote:

“The case for a financial transaction tax is overwhelming. It embodies every principle the left believes in: fairness, justice, and reciprocity.

The time has now come for the new generation in the Labour party to take this to the next level.”

Ed Miliband, Ed Balls and other senior Labour party MPs support the tax; perhaps now is the time to put more pressure on the coalition on the issue.

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