The Robin Hood Tax
Here is a launch statement:
A Robin Hood Tax on banks’ financial transactions could raise hundreds of billions of pounds to fight poverty, protect public services and tackle climate change, according to a campaign launched today (Wednesday) by an unprecedented coalition of domestic charities, aid agencies, unions, faith organisations and green groups.
The campaign is calling on the leaders of the UK’s political parties to support a global tax on the banks to help repair the human damage caused by the global economic crisis, protect public services at home, fight poverty abroad and help foot the bill for climate change.
The campaign, supported by almost 50 organisations including Oxfam, the TUC, Barnardo’s, The Salvation Army, ActionAid and Save the Children, is launched with a promotional film starring Bill Nighy, and written and directed by Richard Curtis (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Comic Relief). It is backed by regional events, advertising and online promotions challenging politicians, banks and the public to Be Part of the World’s Greatest Bank Job.
The Robin Hood Tax is backed by financiers and hundreds of economists who have signed a letter supporting the campaign.
Alastair Constance, City trader and founder of Ethical Currency, which already levies a voluntary rate of 0.05 per cent on all currency transactions, said: “Billions of pounds whizz round the global financial system every day. A tiny tax on each transaction is absolutely practical and will hardly be noticed by those paying it. But it could still raise billions to help make the world a better place.”
The Robin Hood Tax would not be levied on banks’ transactions with their high street customers, but only apply to transactions between financial institutions. While different rates of tax would apply to different types of transaction, they would start at just five pence for every thousand pounds traded – an average of 0.05 per cent.
But even such tiny taxes would raise hundreds of billions of dollars a year given the scale of transactions – equivalent to $10,000 a day for every one of the 1.2 billion inhabitants of the world’s 30 richest countries in the OECD. Experts have estimated an international transaction tax system could eventually raise as much as £250bn ($400bn) every year.
While an internationally agreed tax system is the best way to proceed, the UK Government and European Union should start extending transaction taxes already in existence, such as the UK’s 0.5 per cent stamp duty on shares, the campaign says.
This would both raise much needed money and encourage other countries to adopt the proposal, with modern foreign exchange markets an attractive and easy target for a unilateral tax on sterling and Euro transactions.
The market for financial transactions has exploded in the last decade, and is now worth 60 times global GDP. Before the financial crisis banking was the most profitable industry in the world, with profits five times that of the pharmaceutical industry, and three times bigger than the privatised utilities, according to consultants McKinsey & Company. At the same time the financial sector is not taxed as much as other sectors.
The campaign is calling for countries which levy the tax to keep half the proceeds domestically and for the rest to be split 50-50 between poverty reduction and tackling climate change. The UK’s share of the tax would amount to tens of billions of pounds.
Money raised by a Robin Hood Tax could be used avoid cuts to vital public services and for a range of good causes including:
• Meeting the Government’s target to halve child poverty (£4bn)
• Ending the benefit trap that makes it too expensive for people to leave welfare and return to work (£2.7bn)
• Protecting schools and hospitals at home and abroad under threat of cuts
• Meeting the Millennium Development Goals to cut child deaths by two-thirds, maternal mortality by two-thirds and tackle malaria and HIV/AIDS, and
• Providing resources to enable a deal to be done on tackling climate change.
Posted by Other TPA at 01:07pm on 10 February 2010
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