Robin Hood Tax campaign disappointed by the Budget
Media coverage of the budget saw the Robin Hood Tax campaign take on a higher profile. It is one of the clearest alternatives on offer, offering at least £20bn in tax income set against the cuts in the budget.
Finance Markets said that “the Chancellor of the Exchequer has failed to hold banks responsible for the financial carnage they caused in the credit crunch and the subsequent recession, the Robin Hood Tax campaign said.”
The Economist said: “A much-discussed tax on financial transactions, which could potentially raise enormous amounts of revenue and put a brake on high-frequency, high-volume trading, is also lurking in the wings. Though the IMF has its doubts about the approach (and it is not alone), a tax on transactions would be easier to collect than one extracted from individual institutions. Tony Dolphin, senior economist at the Institute for Public Policy Research, a think-tank, argues that including such a tax with others on the British financial sector could raise up to £20 billion.” And the Mirror said: “David Hillman, of the Robin Hood Tax campaign, which wanted a tax on international financial transactions to help the poor, said the fatcat bankers had been let off the hook while the poor were punished.”
Further coverage included Richard Murphy on Forbes.com:
“That new bank tax is not, however, the tax anyone who has been campaigning for City reform has been asking for. They wanted a financial transaction tax, or a Robin Hood Tax as it’s called in campaigning terms, but they got a levy on bank assets. These are very different. The levy hits bank’s balance sheets and thus the bank’s capacity to lend. Transaction taxes hit particular transactions and most especially those that give rise to the notorious banker’s bonuses. That fact, and the fact that it is expected that U.S. banks will pay $2 billion at least of the new bank tax will win him few friends.”
Simon Bullock of Friends of the Earth said: “Increasing VAT is deeply regressive – Robin Hood taxes on banking transactions and increased taxes on aviation pollution would have been a greener and fairer way to cut the deficit.
Here’s what the Robin Hood Tax campaign themselves said:
“The Chancellor called today’s budget ‘unavoidable’ – but it’s the banks that have avoided paying the price of the global recession they helped create. Instead, the poorest have picked up the bill. The Chancellor has hiked VAT – a direct hit on the pockets of the poorest people in our society. In stark contrast, a Robin Hood Tax on the financial sector would take from the rich and give to the poor. This is nowhere near the £20 billion that the banks could afford to pay, as our latest research shows. This money is desperately needed to prevent severe cuts in public spending and to save jobs. We will urge the Chancellor to tax the financial sector far more ambitiously and make sure that its proceeds go towards helping avoid the worst cuts, as well as tackling poverty and climate change at home and abroad.”