David Cameron needs to stop hiding behind the US and support a financial transaction tax to combat poverty and climate change, says CAFOD.
The Catholic aid agency has called on the UK Prime Minister to reaffirm his position as a leader within Europe on development finance and back the FTT.
Cameron’s insistence that he is behind the idea if carried out in global unison - when we know America is not on-board - is cynical, says CAFOD.
In a fortnight that has seen political and public support for a small levy on financial transactions, the Vatican and the Archbishop of Canterbury, joined by Bill Gates in a report being released to the G20, have also backed the idea of a 'Robin Hood Tax' as economically feasible and morally right.
From the G20 meeting in Cannes today, CAFOD’s economist Tina Weller commented: “David Cameron has the perfect opportunity to promote a reputation for moral and global leadership at the G20 summit in Cannes, but instead he looks set to be a stumbling block to progress on vital new forms of finance to combat poverty and climate change."
She continued: “Mr Cameron is lacking the vision to see beyond the City of London, even here in Cannes. Other political leaders are prepared to take a bold stand in favour of public interest and against financial sector lobbying. Religious leaders have made the case for financial transaction taxes in pursuit of the greater good, but profits in the City seem to weigh more heavily with the Prime Minister."
“The FTT is not just for idealists and popularity-seeking politicians - Bill Gates is in Cannes to make the case for new forms of finance to put the world on a path towards equitable and sustainable economic growth,” says Ms Weller.
Developed countries need to find $100 billion per year to make good their pledges made in Cancun last year.
In Ethiopia right now people are facing the second or third major drought of their lifetime due to changes in their climate. Investment is needed for communities and individuals to be able to adapt to these new conditions in order to survive.
CAFOD's Weller added: “It’s not just morally right for David Cameron and the G20 to back an FTT, it is also sound economics. There is an opportunity for a double dividend here if we help poor countries to invest now in access to renewable energy. It will not only help them to grow – reducing poverty and boosting the world economy – it will also stop poor men and women having to use dirty fuels that pollute and damage health. The market will not deliver this: new sources of public money are urgently needed.”
* CAFOD - www.cafod.org.uk
* Robin Hood Tax Campaign - http://robinhoodtax.org/