FTT off to a flying start in 2015!
The European Robin Hood Tax campaign has got off to a flying start in 2015, spear-headed by the most unlikely candidate, the country that only a month earlier had been holding up the process: France.
Before Christmas, France was trying to bulldoze through a weak Financial Transactions Tax (FTT) that would have raised hardly any money – but on 5 January, in a dramatic turn of events, French President Hollande went on the record to publicly change their position. He instructed his Finance Minister Michel Sapin to shoot for an ambitious FTT and to work to unblock negotiations with the other 10 FTT countries.
This was thanks, in no small part, to the great work of the French Robin Hood Tax campaign and their tireless efforts to expose to the media that their government had been selling out to the financial sector (pictured). Now, ministers have reiterated their commitment to implement an FTT ‘of the widest possible base’, by January 2016.
The momentum is not only in Europe. In the last few weeks, senior Democrats in the USA threw their weight behind the Robin Hood Tax, announcing that they were backing a tax based on the European model, and noting that the FTT could potentially raise tens of billions of dollars a year.
With Oxfam also revealing, before the world’s rich gathered for the World Economic Forum in Davos, that by 2016, the top 1% will be richer than the rest of the world combined, the time is ripe to tax the financial sector more and use the money for the benefit of people and planet.
With a boost to progress in Europe, the Robin Hood Tax gaining the support of prominent political figures in the US, and an upcoming General Election closer to home – it’s high time we asked the question: why doesn’t the UK join in?
Although we already have an existing FTT on shares – the stamp duty levied at 0.5%, which raises about £3bn a year – we know that this could be extended to further financial transactions to potentially raise revenues of up to £20 billion a year. We could certainly do with the extra money to combat austerity, protect public services and help meet our international commitments to development and climate change.
Surely it’s high time we taxed the banks more – and distributed the money to the causes that most need it.
Show your backing for the Robin Hood Tax here – with more than 940,000 expressions of support we are a stone’s throw away from 1 million – help us over the line!