The government has missed an opportunity to raise more money to protect the poorest people in the UK from spending cuts and VAT rises, as well as helping to tackle global poverty and climate change.
That is the verdict of the UK-based international development agency Oxfam, reacting to the Chancellor of the Exchequer's emergency budget statement in parliament on Tuesday 22 June 2010.
Oxfam's director of campaigns and policy, Phil Bloomer, said: "The announced £2 billion bank tax is well under the £20 billions that a Robin Hood Tax could generate and none of it has been promised to go towards helping the people who have been hit hardest by the mess the banks made."
Mr Bloomer continued: "We need to reform the benefits system so that it responds to people's needs rather than trapping them in poverty. This will take wise judgment alongside up-front investment, rather than painful cuts, but will pay for itself in time and help Britain recover quicker from the recession."
"At a time when the UK faces difficult spending cuts, Oxfam strongly values the government's continued commitment to development, with its reaffirmation of crucial spending plans on aid. Supporting the world's poorest people is central to the UK's role as a progressive global leader," he added.
"Oxfam also welcomes the government's recent reaffirmation of the UK's Fast Start climate money which will provide immediate funding to help people who are already suffering the devastating effects of climate change. It is vital this essential finance is not taken from the aid budget. In the long term, new climate funds can be generated through innovative ways like a Robin Hood Tax on banks or levies on aviation", said the Oxfam spokesperson.
Other relief and development agencies have also welcomed the government's intention to protect the aid budget, but point out that while aid projects will go ahead, there have been cuts in other areas, such as money to support vital development education in Britain.