Stamp Out Poverty Campaign : Update - February 2007

2007 has started at a pace for Stamp Out Poverty. Struggling to win progress from the Norwegian government, pressing UK MPs to sign up to a sterling stamp duty and fending off attack from the Times newspaper.


Campaigners Secure Next Step in Norway

Norway, which held such promise as a country that might be the first to pilot a currency transaction tax (CTT) when it hosted the latest conference on innovative financing on February 6th and 7th in Oslo, almost proved a block to progress. Sustained pressure however, from campaigns both in Norway and outside – notably from Stamp Out Poverty supporters – secured the announcement of an international taskforce to investigate the actual steps that countries would need to take to implement a CTT.

From meetings with Norwegian ambassadors across Europe to deluging some of their senior ministers with emails, Stamp Out Poverty and its european sister campaigns were instrumental in finding a way forward that keeps the momentum for a CTT on track. To see the letter from the Norwegian government to the Leading Group countries, inviting them to participate in the international taskforce, please click here.

David Hillman, Stamp Out Poverty’s coordinator comments, “Although we wanted a pilot CTT above all else, and progress is slower than we would have liked, the taskforce is a singular achievement and takes us one step closer to our campaign goal.”

The road to the conference started some months ago when Stamp Out Poverty was commissioned by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to write a paper on how to finance development using levies on currency transactions. Stamp Out Poverty’s coordinator was invited to participate in an Experts’ panel in December in Oslo where he presented the Taking the Next Steps report to a sizeable audience including government officials from various countries. To read his speech click here.

Sony Kapoor presents the Taking the Next Step report to a packed worskshop on the first day of the Oslo conference

At the conference itself, the workshop on the CTT was the best attended of the six sessions on existing or potential innovative finance mechanisms. Sony Kapoor made an excellent presentation of the Taking the Next Steps report. His speech is available here and the report is available to download at the bottom of this page.


November forum forges important links with AIDS campaign

Stamp Out Poverty co-hosted an excellent forum with the International HIV/AIDS Alliance at the Princess of Wales Memorial Fund in November last year. The event was an opportunity to bring the NGO world up to speed with UNITAID – the international drugs purchase facility to deliver HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria treatments, funded principally by the first development tax, a small duty on airline tickets. We were delighted to be joined by Carol Nawina from Zambia and Khalil Elouardighi from France, who are both members of the UNITAID board, representing respectively ‘people living with the disease’ and the ‘northern NGO community’. Other speakers included Steve Cockburn, director of the Stop Aids Campaign, Ian Leggett, director of People and Planet and Anton Kerr of the International HIV/AIDS Alliance.

Carol Nawina and Khalil Elouardighi (NGO representatives on the board of UNITAID)

The forum proved a highly effective way of sharing information and strengthening links with fellow NGOs. We are delighted to report as a result that the Stamp Out Poverty network is likely to be joined in the near future by the Student Partnerships Worldwide and the Malaria Consortium.


Parliamentarians show their support for a sterling stamp duty

Stamp Out Poverty has stepped up its domestic campaign to lobby the UK government to implement the sterling stamp duty on currency transactions. This includes continuing to work closely with the student organisation, People & Planet, to lobby MPs to support a sterling stamp duty to help meet the funding gap required to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

Martin Salter MP has tabled an Early Day Motion (EDM), which is a type of petition that Parliamentarians sign in order to show their support for a particular policy proposal. So far EDM 376 has been signed by over 60 MPs, but our target is to get over 100 signatures. This is where you can help!

Getting in touch with your MP is very simple and often very rewarding. You can write to them, email them, fax them, phone them, contact them through their website, or even drop in to one of their surgeries. Details of how to read the EDM and find out if your MP has already signed it, are below.

If you have recently contacted your MP to ask them to sign EDM 376 we would like to hear from you. How did you go about it? Were they responsive? Have they now signed the EDM? Please do email us so that we can hear your stories and share your experience with others.

Contact your MP

To read the EDM and to find out whether your MP has already signed it, please click here.

If your MP does not appear on the list of signatories, please contact him/her as soon as possible and ask that they sign the EDM.


Stamp Out Poverty Attacked

On 12th February the Times published an article with the unlikely title of ‘Arghhh… it’s a Chugger Mugger Blagger’. The piece was essentially a diatribe against on-street fundraising, (you know, the people with clipboards trying to get you to donate two pounds a month.) The journalist is of course entitled to her views, however, not entitled to level this accusation at us. This is for one very simple reason – Stamp Out Poverty does not, and has never, used face-to-face fundraising as a means of financing itself, nor indeed do we appeal to the public at all for funds. The attack on our good name and reputation was entirely spurious.

The Times withdrew the article from its website and published the following apology on the 19th and 20th February, “A comment article [of] February 12 incorrectly stated that the Stamp Out Poverty campaign uses on-street fundraising. In fact Stamp Out Poverty does not raise funds from the general public in any way. We apologise for the error and for any embarrassment caused to Stamp Out Poverty.” The journalist, Rosemary Behan neither contacted Stamp Out Poverty to research the article nor has she subsequently apologised for her wholly unjustified tirade against us.

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Date added: 21 February 2007