Appeal for an EU-wide finance tax

By Agencies
November 1, 2010

The following letter has been sent to the UK Prime Minister David Cameron, ahead of the Anglo-French Summit on Tuesday 2 November 2010, by 50 civil society organisations – including Ekklesia – under the banner of the Robin Hood Tax Campaign.

Dear Mr Cameron:

We believe the Anglo-French Summit on Tuesday 2 November represents a unique opportunity to make progress towards agreement on an EU wide financial sector tax, which could raise money for tackling poverty at home and abroad as well as climate change. Building on your clear leadership on addressing global poverty by committing to reach 0.7 per cent of GNI as overseas aid, we urge you to actively work with France to ensure agreement in the first half of 2011 on an EU wide tax. Furthermore the forthcoming French presidency of the G8 and G20 provides an opportunity to influence discussions on an international tax.

As CEOs, Directors and General Secretaries of more than 50 leading UK domestic, international, faith-led, environmental agencies and trade unions, our organisations represent the voices of many millions of people and we are united as members of the Robin Hood Tax campaign. We would like to see substantial additional revenue generated from the UK financial sector, to help the poor in the UK and abroad, and to fight climate change.

There is a compelling fiscal case for additional financial sector taxes: as 350 economists, including Jeffrey Sachs and Joseph Stiglitz, have argued. The IMF and EC agree the financial sector is under-taxed and oversized. While the £2.5 billion levy is a welcome step, it will be partly offset by lower corporation tax. Our research shows that £20 billion a year could be raised from the financial sector.

The political case for additional financial sector taxes has also never been stronger. There is a genuine sense of unfairness felt by our many supporters and the public at large. They see tax rises for them together with significant and dramatic cuts to services, at the same time the banking sector is emerging relatively unscathed and is set to make extensive profits and bonus payments in the coming months.

We have been encouraged by the UK government support for a Financial Activities Tax (FAT), and the recent moves by the European Commission to recommend an EU FAT. We would be keen to support the FAT if the proceeds were substantial and explicitly linked to tackling poverty and climate change, at home and abroad. Beyond the FAT, we believe the Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) has the greatest potential to raise revenue from the financial sector as it offers a robust, hard to avoid and simple to implement mechanism. As the IMF has found, 16 of the G20 countries already have some form of FTT in place, providing a clear base to extend the tax.

We urge you to work closely with France on implementing a Robin Hood Tax in 2011, a move that would be hugely popular and supported by millions across the UK and the world.

Signed by:

Action for Southern Africa
Tony Dykes, Director

Africa Europe Faith & Justice Network
Fr Terry Donnelly

Article 12 in Scotland
Lynne Tammi, National Co-ordinator

Martin Narey, Chief Executive

Chris Bain, Director

Centre for Alternative Technology
Paul Allen

Chartered Society of Physiotherapy
Phil Gray, Chief Executive Officer

Christian Aid
Loretta Minghella, Director

Christian Socialist Movement
Andy Flannagan, Director

Communication Workers Union
Billy Hayes, General Secretary

Gavin Hayes, General Secretary

Disability Alliance
Richard Gutch, Interim Chief Executive

Economic Governance for Health
Mr Taavi Tillmann

The Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility
Miles Litvinoff, Co-ordinator

Jonathan Bartley & Simon Barrow, Co-directors

The Rev Canon Mark Oxbrow, International

Forum for Stable Currencies
Sabine K McNeill, Organiser

General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches
Derek McAuley, Chief Officer

Health Poverty Action
Martin Drewry, Director

Housing Justice
Alison Gelder, Director

The International HIV/AIDS Alliance
Dr Alvaro Bermejo, Chief Executive Officer

Jubilee Scotland
James Picardo

Jonathan Ledger, General Secretary

National Justice and Peace Network
Anne Peacey, Chair

Nationwide Group Staff Union
Tim Poil, General Secretary

National Association for Voluntary and Community Action
Kevin Curley, Chief Executive Officer

National Council for Voluntary Organisations
Stuart Etherington, Chief Executive Officer

National Union of Journalists
Jeremy Dear, General Secretary

Oxfam GB
Barbara Stocking, Chief Executive

The Poverty Alliance (Scotland)
Peter Kelly, Director

Prison Officers Association
Steve Gillan, General Secretary

Results UK
Aaron Oxley, Executive Director

Salvation Army
Marion Drew, Lieutenant Colonel

Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations
Martin Sime, Chief Executive

Share The World’s Resources
Rajesh Makwana, Director

SPEAK Network
Tom Skinner

Stamp Out Poverty
David Hillman, Coordinator

Matthew Frost, Chief Executive Officer

TB Alert
Mike Mandelbaum, Chief Executive

Trade Union Congress
Brendan Barber, General Secretary

Gerry Doherty, General Secretary

Phil Mulligan, Executive Director

David Bull, Executive Director

Dave Prentis, General Secretary

United Reformed Church
Rev Roberta Rominger, General Secretary

Urban Forum
Toby Blume, Chief Executive

War on Want
John Hilary, Executive Director

Margaret Batty, Director of Policy & Campaigns

World Development Movement
Deborah Doane, Director

Y Care International
Chris Roles, Chief Executive

Sarah Payne, Chief Executive Officer,

Zacchaeus 2000 Trust
Joanna Kennedy, Chief Executive

Robin Hood Tax Campaign -

Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.