Robin Hood Tax – support from a thousand economists, a European Commissioner, Francophone African Finance Ministers, the Observer….
It has been a bumper fortnight for the Robin Hood Tax campaign, with endorsements beginning to mount up, and an innovative road trip round the UK bringing the message to a wider audience still. Key developments have to be the endorsement by tweet (how 21st century!) from European Commissioner and former Director of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Laszlo Andor; and the impressive worldwide thousand-strong economists’ letter (every one a PhD: Chancellor George Osborne wouldn’t even have been eligible to sign it!) Last time the campaign brought economists together to sign such a letter, ‘only’ 350 did. Further grown up support came from Cambridge economist Ha Joon Chang and Oxfam’s excellent Duncan Green, and the endorsement of yet another national UK newspaper, the Observer (the Mirror and the Mail are already on record).
Meanwhile, in Washington DC, the Spring meetings of the International Financial Institutions (IMF, World Bank) saw several developments. Most importantly, the first strong support for an FTT by a group of developing countries. Finance Ministers of low-income Francophone (mostly African) countries expressed a strong endorsement of a broad-based financial transactions tax. They urge all G20 countries and others to adopt the FTT as put forward by France and Germany. The statement is on the web in French only so far, but an FAQ on why southern countries should support FTTs was launched this month too. There was also a stunt launching the economists’ letter, and ITUC official Dr Peter Bakvis handed in the economists’ letter to French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde.