An activist takes part in a demonstration in front of the Treasury in London last March in support of a proposed “Robin Hood tax.”
A leaked IMF report shows that there is growing international backing for a tax on bank profits, part of what has been dubbed a “Robin Hood tax” that, if ultimately agreed upon, would raise money to help those pushed deeper into poverty by the global financial crisis and to restore public services.
Similar to the Tobin tax on foreign currency transactions, a Robin Hood tax would levy a fee on stock, bond and futures trading by banks and hedge funds and shuttle that revenue to local and international aid groups. —JCL
European Union finance ministers will step up talks on raising extra money from banks this week amid signs that the International Monetary Fund is softening its opposition to a “Robin Hood tax” on financial transactions.
Treasury sources said the chancellor, George Osborne, was prepared to back a financial activities tax on bank profits and pay at the Brussels meeting provided it was universally introduced, but was wary of a broader Robin Hood tax. Campaigners said last night, however, that a leaked IMF report showed growing international backing for a broader tax and urged Osborne to look at the revenue-raising potential of a levy of transactions.
David Hillman, a Robin Hood Campaign spokesman, said: “The rug has been pulled from under critics who claim that a Robin Hood tax would damage the wider economy or is unworkable. The IMF, EC and Leading Group of 60 nations have all said it is feasible. The main losers would be those who make lots of money from socially useless trades but the winners would be millions of people at home and abroad pushed into poverty by the economic crisis or whose public services are under threat.”