A coalition of willing countries today agreed to press ahead with plans for a European Financial Transaction Tax (FTT). Their decision came after proposals for
Stamp Out Poverty has been working since 2005 on new and innovative sources of finance for development and climate change.
We helped create the political space for new funding initiatives, such UNITAID and the International Finance Facility for Immunisation (IFFIm), which between them have now generated more than $3billion for vaccination and treatment of HIV/Aids, TB and malaria in the developing world.
Stamp Out Poverty is one of the founding members of the Robin Hood Tax campaign, a coalition of more than 100 organisations (including Oxfam, the TUC, Friends of the Earth and War on Want) working towards the implementation of Financial Transaction Taxes (FTTs). FTTs are small levies (between 0.5% and 0.005%) on the trading of stocks, bonds, derivatives and foreign exchange1 carried out by financial institutions (not individuals).
Following the recent economic crisis, it is ordinary UK citizens who have borne the costs with job losses and cuts to public services. In developing countries the pain has been far greater with funds for health, development and climate change being either cut of suspended. New money is desperately needed to save livelihoods at home and lives abroad.
The substantial income that FTTs can generate, potentially up to £250 billion a year, makes them one of the few available options that would raise this level of additional revenue. The financial sector who caused the economic crisis that is adversely affecting so many people here and overseas have been making unparalleled profits and paying themselves excessive remunerations for decades. The sector has historically been under-taxed and particularly under current circumstances needs to pay its fair share to shoulder the burden that its actions have caused. Importantly, as well, the FTT would reduce the sector’s casino-like behavior which helped precipitate the crisis in the first place.
The demand of the Robin Hood Tax campaign that the financial sector should pay a modest financial transaction tax going forward is practical, just and timely and should be adopted by decision makers across the political spectrum.
* The FTT would apply to large-value foreign exchange transactions (the wholesale market), not retail transactions – and so would not apply to people changing money to go on holiday or sending funds to relatives abroad.