From the TUC

Global employers and unions trade letters on Robin Hood Tax

29 Nov 2011, by in International

The leaderships of the global employer and trade union movements have traded blows about the EU draft directive on a financial transaction tax on the letters page of the Financial Times (behind a paywall, I’m afraid). The employers started it, with a letter last Thursday arguing that an FTT would undermine growth by making investment more expensive and taxing the financial sector’s customers. Unions responded on Tuesday (the letter was submitted on Friday, but that’s print deadlines for you!) insisting that in fact it would strip out harmful financial transactions and produce a revenue stream for global public goods from products that even the OECD say should be taxed. They concluded:

“It would curb the most extreme forms of speculative trading, help shift derivatives trading away from the opaque OTC [over the counter] world and raise vital new sources of government revenue. It would shield the real economy, workers and employers from the excesses of financial speculation.”

Meanwhile, even Royal Bank of Scotland Chief Executive Stephen Hester told the Treasury Select Committee last week that the Government should be less hostile to an FTT, joining a small but growing group in the finance sector who while not willing to don the Robin Hood Tax campaign green tights, jerkin and mask are at least not as hysterically hostile as the UK Government.

Given the stellar line up of business and union representatives involved in the exchange of letters, it is worth listing the signatories. Clearly this is now a big issue!

In the employers’ corner:

  • Chris Lenon, Chairman, Business and Industry Tax Advisory Committee to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Theo Keijzer, Chairman, Taxation Commission of the International Chamber of Commerce, Paris
  • Krister Andersson, Chairman, Tax Policy Group, Businesseurope

And on the union side:

  • Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation
  • Bernadette Segol, General Secretary, European Trade Union Confederation
  • John Evans, General Secretary, Trade Union Advisory Committee to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development