Stamp Out Poverty Campaign : Update - June 2007

Finally, a currency tax has been implemented – not yet by a country, but an important step all the same. And be sure to see the upcoming action to Gordon Brown at the end of this update.

Currency tax implemented by City firm

INTL Global Currencies, a City firm specialising in foreign exchange made history on 21 May by launching a week-long trial of a currency transaction tax (CTT) to raise money for charity. Implementing the levy at the 0.005% rate that Stamp Out Poverty recommends, the company raised almost £4,000 in a matter of days.

Philip Smith, director at INTL, said: “With minimal impact on our profits we are able to make a beneficial contribution to the lives of people in a poorer country – the more business we do, the more benefit to the developing world. If we can act as the first rung on the ladder towards this new way of raising aid revenue through currency transactions, we’ll be a very proud company.”

This quotation formed part of the article in the Guardian, which covered the story on the front-page of their financial section under the headline Currency tax to tackle poverty – the article in full can be found here.
The story was also covered in the charity world’s specialist magazine, Third Sector – which can also be found here.

The money raised will be donated to the charity, Widows and Orphans International, for a project in Kenya working with relatives of people who have died of AIDS.

From L to R: Ade Bamboye – INTL, Joshua Odongo – Widows and Orphans International, Philip Smith – Director INTL

From Stamp Out Poverty’s perspective the importance of the INTL initiative is that it both proves the CTT is feasible and crucially sets an example to rich countries that here is a workable, realisable, way to substantially increase aid spending through the taxing of currency transactions.

INTL have affirmed to us how technically simple it was to implement the scheme. We are pleased to inform you that they are now considering whether to make this initiative permanent thus building into their business model a continuous way of making a gift correlated to the amount of business they conduct. This is potentially a very exciting development and we will let you know further news when we have it.


Stamp Out Poverty – The World Can’t Wait

Stamp Out Poverty joined with several thousand supporters of the ‘World Can’t Wait’ campaign in the bright sunshine of Saturday 2 June to send a message to Tony Blair on the eve of Germany’s G8 summit. After Make Poverty History two years ago there is a growing impatience that the promises made at Gleneagles are not being fulfilled.

Stamp Out Poverty’s stall in Archbishop’s Park, 2 minutes walk from the Thames, attracted many visitors with a fair few joining up to the campaign. The weather, after a rather bleak few days, turned out to be glorious and the atmosphere in the park was both vibrant and fun, with many children rushing around the various campaign stalls.

At 2.00pm the park began to empty as crowds made their way to the river to line Lambeth Bridge and the banks on either side. At 2.30pm 3 minutes of noise began with klaxons hooting, whistles blowing, alarm clocks going off and people chanting “G8 – The World Can’t Wait”.

On the river, a special ‘World Can’t Wait’ boat, went up and down outside the Houses of Parliament, broadcasting speeches urging the Government to do more to honour its aid pledges. The boat paraded the number 575,263 which equates to the more than half a million actions, such as sending postcards or emails, to the likes of Tony Blair and Germany’s Angela Merkel over the last few weeks. It is now time for them to respond to all these voices with actions not words – The World Can’t Wait.


Upcoming Action

On the 18th June, we will be asking you to send a special message to Gordon Brown, 10 days before he becomes our next Prime Minister.

Watch this Space!