Boris is doing Londoners out of £1.2 billion a year

Jenny Jones argues that by refusing to implement a Robin Hood tax, Boris Johnson is hurting Londoners to the tune of £1.2 billion every year


By Jenny Jones AM, leader of the Green Party on the London Assembly and Green Party Mayoral candidate for 2012

If Boris and Ken have shown us anything, it is that the mayor of London can be a powerful voice in national debates.

In May voters have a chance to elect somebody who will speak up in the debate over banks for a fairer economy based on small businesses and a smaller pay gap. Right now, we can all speak up together in favour of the Robin Hood tax.

Boris has been on the wrong side of almost every argument to do with banking.

He has lobbied against the Robin Hood tax, and wrote to the European Commission president, José Manuel Barroso last year to warn against the implementation of a tax which could help millions of people. He gave the tired excuse that it would force companies to relocate oversees, and that it would devastate London’s economy.

Except the figures he uses show the government’s misguided cuts have actually reduced our long term economic prospects by several times more than the tax. What’s more, do we really want to base our future economic strategy on a small number of overpaid people gambling on complex, risky financial inventions?

We can happily give up some of that trade and focus on creating jobs in the real economy, betting on the Silicon Roundabout technology companies and a well supported renewable manufacturing sector instead of casino banks and fantasy airports.

As more and more European countries back the tax, including the very cities that companies may move to, we find ourselves on the winning side of the argument. The British public back the tax by a margin of two-to-one.

Our research shows that we are missing out on £1.2 billion every year that Boris and the government block this 0.05 per cent tax on financial transactions.

This money could bring much needed relief to our ailing public sector. For example we have calculated that it could be used to reverse all local authority cuts and cut council tax.

Alternatively it could fund the construction of 32 new schools every year, or pay for an extra 23,230 police officers.

It could help to end the unemployment epidemic and finance almost a quarter of a million apprenticeships, or we could use it to provide 4,221 hybrid buses and clean up London’s air.

In short, this tiny tax is the solution to many of the issues which you will hear about in this election.

As mayor, I would campaign vigorously on behalf of a financial sector that serves the interests and needs of our residents and businesses. The Robin Hood tax is a simple measure that would help ensure our city’s richest institutions make a more equitable contribution towards the recovery without scratching the surface of their massive profits.

See also:

Robin Hood Tax gains momentum – on the continentTony Burke, January 3rd 2012

Osborne starts to panic about the chance of a Robin Hood TaxOwen Tudor, November 9th 2011

Osborne in public: “I am not against Tobin taxes”; in private: “He remains unconvinced”Alex Hern, November 9th 2011

On the Financial Transaction Tax, why is Osborne on the side of the one per cent?Shamik Das, November 2nd 2011

Miliband and Balls need to be more vocal in support of the Robin Hood TaxVaughan Gething AM, October 17th 2011

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