Roger James: Get your MP to join the merry Robin Hood Tax band

The run up to the Budget is a vital moment when campaigners can take action – to contact their MP, whether they have contacted them before or not

Robin Hood Tax

Oxfam South West supporters campaigning in Bristol for a Robin Hood Tax

The Budget is due on March 21. Three years after the economic crash, ordinary people around the world are still paying the price of a crisis they did nothing to cause. The issues of tax evasion, mansion  tax and 50p rates all  jostle for attention, while bank bonuses are still a major concern. The Treasury is also aware that there is a lot of public support for a Robin Hood Tax.

Robin Hood’s merry band continues to grow! Their big idea, the Robin Hood Tax, could generate billions of pounds, even in the current economic climate to fight poverty in the UK and globally.

Wales’ First Minister, Carwyn Jones AM, is the latest to announce his support, the first government leader in the UK to come out in support of the tax. The tax is being championed by a growing number of European countries, led by France and Germany. President Sarkozy  has just announced a  French financial transaction tax, and this has now been adopted  by the French  National Assembly.

It has wider EU support.  Algirdas Šemeta, European Commissioner responsible for taxation, recently said: “We can lead by example with the Financial Transaction Tax (FTT),” noting that 65% of the population in the EU is in favour of an FTT.  She has also just visited the Lords telling them that the impact of a Robin Hood Tax would be “negligible”.

All this adds to the massive momentum generated in 2011 when 1,000 economists urged G20 countries to accept a similar ‘Tobin tax’. Bill Gates, alongside other leading financial actors, George Soros, Warren Buffet and the UK’s Lord Adair Turner, all stated their support. Actor Bill Nighy has been a prominent public supporter alongside the Archbishop of Canterbury. To date 14,574 people in the UK have contacted their MP to press for action.

It a cause worthy of all this support. A FTT or ‘Robin Hood Tax‘ is a tiny tax of (on average) 0.05% applied to all financial transactions which could raise  up to $400bn globally to fight poverty and climate change. A tiny tax on the financial sector can generate £20billion annually in the UK alone. The impact would be incredible: applying the tax for just one minute could raise enough to vaccinate 1.5 million African children against meningitis.

Despite all this expert opinion and public pressure, the UK Coalition Government has so far opposed this tax. Liberal Democrats have been favourable in the past, Labour support it if applied globally. This position ‘yes- if global’ now seems to be a consensus between the three main parties. Global it might become  as France, Germany, Spain, Austria, Argentina, South Africa and recently nine EU countries have asked the Danish presidency to put the FTT on the 27-country bloc’s agenda without delay.

A Robin Hood Tax on the banks could raise tens of billions to help protect public services, fight poverty and tackle climate change at home and abroad. Despite the official party position there a number of MPs who are supportive of this measure. The worldwide momentum for a Robin Hood Tax is growing. It can be achieved if we keep up the pressure as the Chancellor prepares for his next Budget – we need him to know how much support there is for a Robin Hood Tax on banks.

The run up to the Budget is a vital moment when campaigners can take action - to contact their MP, whether they have contacted them before or not. The online message that you send has been customised to allow for this. A letter now will be an important signal to them that people are still concerned about the Robin Hood Tax.

Ask your MP to support a Robin Hood Tax today – they could still join the merry band!

Roger James is a campaigner for Oxfam South West in Bristol

7 Responses to Roger James: Get your MP to join the merry Robin Hood Tax band
  1. Roger James
    March 13, 2012 | 2:41 pm

    Let's remember who and what caused the financial crisis! – A new report ( ) released today aims to systematically dismantle critics’ apocalyptic visions of the carnage a Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) would wreak on our economy.The report’s author, Professor Avinash Persaud, a former head of Currency and Commodity Research at JP Morgan, says: “What draws me to this subject is not the ‘bashing bankers’ party, but the disproportionate, inconsistent and disingenuous arguments used by my fellow bankers against this proposal.” See also

    Also please these funds if allocated will not be going to Oxfam- we want them to be allocated to fight poverty and climate change both in the UK and overseas.

    • ftfsos
      March 16, 2012 | 12:39 am

      "Let's remember who and what caused the financial crisis!"

      I remember and it wasn't us. FTT is going for the jugular to tax equities, and pensions.

      FTT taxes everyone but the banks. This type of tax only makes the cost of banking more expensive. Expenses are passed on to the consumer.

      Nearly all, I would say all of this tax will be the burden of individual consumers and investors. All kinds of alternative taxes, yet taxing investors and consumers gets exclusive priority. Very suspicious.

      IMF states in the Final Report For The G-20, June 2010 about the financial transaction tax, "Its real burden may fall largely on final consumers rather than, as often seems to be supposed, earnings in the financial sector…A tax levied on transactions at one stage ‘cascades’ into prices at all further stages of production."

  2. Brisbane girl
    March 7, 2012 | 8:50 pm

    Where I live, this tax is regarded as a total joke. The economically high flying countries of Asia are beckoning, and that is where our financial services sector is expanding. It's a strange thing that the region of this world that has made such a mess of itself (Europe) is completely out of touch with the widely understood facts of this damaging flow-through tax idea. It would multiply dozens of times, inevitably to be paid by your wider community.
    I understand it has been vigorously discredited by both the IMF, (didn't it recommend a financial activities tax) , and lately their Mrs Lagarde warned against it. Fortunately most countries outside Europe are economically astute, turning their backs on this nonsense three years ago. Treasury studies show this is a toxic tax. Successful sovereign nations do not want job losses. They do not want seismic shock to their steady financial markets and they have time and again rejected this preposterous idea.
    Huge suspicion surrounds charities who chase public money. We have seen too much charity money end up in the hands of despots and regimes that waste it on guns for foreign disputes and people killing each other. Their CEO's earn far more money than the people who give it. We don't want money commandeered for charities. WE choose who we give our money to, and in my family's case it's definitely NOT Oxfam. When economically ignorant charities and churches begin dabbling their fingers in politics, that's when we turn our backs on them.

    • RobinHoodTax
      March 13, 2012 | 9:55 am

      The biggest threat to long term growth is not an FTT, but an out of control financial sector. The Bank of England found the cost of the financial crisis to the UK economy over time will be at least £1.8 trillion and could be as much as £7.4 trillion.

      An FTT could help rebalance the economy in favour of the real economy, protecting future jobs, as suggested by BBC Business Editor Robert Peston in his article: Growth means more than protecting the profits of the privileged few in the financial sector: casino banking may add numbers to GDP but it is of little value to the real economy and ordinary people’s lives. Lord Turner, Chair of the Financial Services Authority, has described much of it as “socially useless”.

      Several G20 countries (including South Korea, India, South Africa, USA and Brazil) already apply some form of FTT. The UK’s own 0.5% tax on share transactions (the Stamp Duty) is one of the best examples of a successful FTT raising the Exchequer more than £3billion each year without a significant loss of business from London.

      Support for the Robin Hood Tax comes from a coalition of partners across the board, from charities and NGOs, to economists and world leaders, to over 500,000 active campaigners around the world. All of these supporters want to see change for the better; a more stable economy and billions of pounds raised to help those worst affected by the financial crisis at home and abroad.

  3. ftfsos
    March 7, 2012 | 1:44 pm

    Swedish Finance Minister Anders Borg warns often that the same FTT in Sweden saw implementation costs of the tax out-run its own revenues. FTT revenues achieved 3 percent of revenue projections before subtracting reduced GDP revenue losses in all other areas.

    From the UK's European Scrutiny Committee quoting the European Commission's 1223 page FTT Impact Assessment (even before the damaging relocation effects): a 3.43% fall in EU GDP equates to a fall in economic output worth €421 (£362) billion and a 0.34% fall in employment equates to a loss of 812,000 jobs.

    The recent EFAMA study finds that if the proposed Euro FTT were in place for 2011, it would have cost investors and pensions an astounding EUR 38 billion in UCITS funds alone.

    EU charities are sitting on nearly 200 billion in investment assets and beg for more power and wealth through FTT.

    • RobinHoodTax
      March 13, 2012 | 9:54 am

      The success of an FTT depends on how well it is designed. The UK’s own 0.5% tax on share transactions (the Stamp Duty) is one of the best examples of a successful FTT, raising the Exchequer more than £3billion each year without a significant loss of business from London.

      The key design feature is that no matter where in the world a UK share transaction takes place – London, New York or the Cayman Islands – the tax can still be collected, and moving your trading business out of the UK doesn’t help you avoid the tax. This severely limits the opportunities for avoidance, and a similar approach can be adopted for other FTTs.

      Ultimately, the Swedish FTT was badly designed and therefore not very effective. If designed properly, an FTT could have a positive impact on GDP by having a stabilizing effect on the market and reducing the risk of a future crisis.

      • ftfsos
        March 16, 2012 | 12:28 am

        Abolish UK stamp duty. Prevent FTT.

        UK stamp duty takes £3billion each year right out of individual investor and pension accounts.

        UK stamp duty is not like FTT. Only the average citizen investor pays stamp duty. 71% of all trades in the UK are untaxed. Those trades are made by professional traders, vendors, brokers, market makers, firms. They have exemptions. If they did not have exemptions, it would be like FTT where we pay their cost of the tax multiple times.

        The FTT is a cascading tax with multiple transactions getting hit with the tax. For equity investors, pension funds, the tax cost increases as it travels from vendor to broker to clearing member to market maker to clearing member to broker to pension fund and back again. The point is emphasized that every financial firm is being taxed. All transactions are taxed. That tax really accumulates right down to the individual and pension funds. That's why NGO's such as Oxfam-Robbing Hood Tax campaign to be exempt from the tax. Not that the exemption will make a bit of difference. They will only save 0.1pc out of the 2.52pc lost annually.

        That will put a huge dent in the 200+ billion that charities and NGOs have in surplus cash invested.

        The super perfect design of FTT and still Sweden, the UK and most other countries still don't want it.

        After the horrid reaction to the first study showing tremendous economic damage, the EU Commission has announced that it is fabricating a new study that will show positive attributes of FTT.

Today's news and features
Bristol Metrobus: Changes ‘can be made’, say campaigners

Transport campaigners claim changes to the controversial Metrobus scheme can be made, despite fears that alterations would jeopardise the entire proje(Read more...)

Recovery ‘on track’ despite region’s unemployment rate edging up

Despite lowest rate nationally since 2008, unemployment rose marginally in the region – up by 0.1% on the previous quarter to give a jobless rate of(Read more...)

Bristol News Wire: Sept 18, 2014

Bringing you a round-up of the top headlines from around Bristol this morning (Read more...)

Thangam Debbonaire: Fight is on to hold on to principles of NHS

This blog is written by Thangam Debbonaire, Labour parliamentary candidate for Bristol West People tell me about all sorts of things when I am out cam(Read more...)

Bristol arena: Questions raised on venue finances

Councillor said residents in the city were being expected to sign a "blank cheque" to fund the planned £91million, 12,000-seat arena near Temple Mead(Read more...)

Bristol food sets its sights on world domination!

As one of the main cultural hubs in the UK, Bristol has long drawn a wide range of dynamic, energetic and passionate people from around the country (Read more...)

Sign up for the Bristol24-7 newsletter

By signing up, you will receive access to news and special offers

It's quick and easy to join... just fill in the form below. Thank you!

Your Name*

Your Email*

Your Postcode area (BS1, BS2 etc)*

What are you most interested in? (You can choose more than one!)*
What's On Food and Drink Business Motoring Travel Special offers 

Bristol247 newsletter