The church debates cleaning out the money lenders
Well not quite. But there was certainly a Biblical element to the venue for tonight’s debate on the Robin Hood Tax: St Paul’s Cathedral. The moral tone – so often absent from mainstream debates on tax, inequality and the global crisis – was a welcome innovation (admittedly it’s not so rare in discussions on climate change and international development!)
The former Bishop of Worcester condemned people whose moral values were so warped that they would happily uproot family and home to leave the country to avoid the tax: he suggested the radical proposal that rich people should pay more than poor ones. On purely pragmatic grounds, Michael Izza reported that the rate proposed was so low that many traders were relatively unconcerned (although the churchman pointed out that “half a basis point is not the issue that the Lord suggested you live your life around.”)
The debaters were politician Baroness Shirley Williams; Chartered Accountants’ leader Michael Izza; Rt Revd Peter Selby, the former Bishop of Worcester; and development economics author Michael Green. BBC Today presnter Evan Davis chaired. CAFOD, Tearfund and the Salvation Army – supporters of the Robin Hood Tax – co-sponsored with the St Paul’s Institute.