Tag Archives: Robin Hood Tax

EU Nations urged to implement Robin Hood tax

By Melissa Chong

ONE (SINGAPORE) has joined hands with more than 350 civil society organisations from around the world, urging the heads of 11 European countries to implement a Financial Transactions Tax (FTT).

This comes after the European Commission announced plans to severely scale back the FTT, amid opposition on the economic damage it could cause.

5 Aug 2013

But civil society groups continue to argue that a Global tax of just 0.05% on financial transactions could raise up to US$650 billion a year, channeling much-needed funds to fight global poverty and climate change.

They urge that the tax could also dis-incentivize risky speculation and short-term trading, which poses high risks to economic stability. A Europe-wide FTT could set the precedent for reforming the financial sector, which has so far been exempted from the contributing to the common good.

The 355 signatories to the letter include Oxfam International, Greenpeace, WWF International and the World AIDS Campaign. A copy of the letter was sent to Algirdas Šemeta, the European Commissioner in charge of tax policy, who said she was impressed with the level of international support for the FTT. The special advisor of French President, Francois Hollande, has also agreed to pass the letter on to Hollande.

Seven months ago, Germany and France led nine other countries – Italy, Spain, Austria, Portugal, Belgium, Estonia, Greece, Slovakia and Slovenia – to press ahead with the levy, having failed to persuade all 27 EU members to sign up.

The financial lobby continues to attack the levy, raising alarm bells about the economic damage it could cause to industry, jobs and finances. Britain remains fiercely in opposition, believing the levy would drive business from London to New York instead. Sir Mervyn King, Bank of England Governor, said he “could not find anyone within the central banking community who thinks it is a good idea.”

Amid the criticisms, the European Commission announced in July 2013 that it is prepared to consider a redesign of the original proposal. It may now be rolled out six months later than the intended start date of January 2014. The levy could also be reduced by up to 90%, raising just a fraction of the amount hoped.

As the debate in Europe continues, it is likely that anti-poverty campaigners will continue to lobby relentlessly for the Robin Hood Tax to be implemented in full. David Hillman, a spokesman for the Robin Hood Tax campaign, said: “There remains a firm intention to agree to a strong FTT that will be popular with the public and raise tens of billions from the banking industry.”

This article was edited by Michael Switow

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Robin Hood Tax, Not Corporate Greed, Should be Focus of Climate Finance Meeting, Say Activists

By Lacy MacAuley and Janet Redman

30 Apr 2013 (1)

Chanting, “Human need, not corporate greed! Robin Hood Tax now!” protesters dressed as polar bears, farmers, and bankers engaged with officials entering the meeting to urge them to support a Robin Hood Tax.

Robin Hood Tax campaigners converged on Washington, DC, where officials from the finance and climate ministries of select developed countries met to discuss how to mobilize private sector investment in developing countries to address climate change. Chanting, “Human need, not corporate greed! Robin Hood Tax now!” protesters dressed as polar bears, farmers, and bankers engaged with officials entering the meeting to urge them to support a Robin Hood Tax.

30 Apr 2013 (2)

demonstration drew attention to the fact that trillions of dollars of public money have been spent to bail out Wall Street while government officials pay short shrift to untapped and extremely promising innovative sources of public money like a Robin Hood Tax. In doing so, officials risk putting corporate profits over the needs of climate-impacted people.

Both the financial crisis and the recession have left a massive hole in public finances, threatening job creation, community services, and the ability to address climate change. While Wall Street has already bounced back, ordinary people are still trying to recover from problems caused by corporate abuse in the financial sector. The Robin Hood Tax calls for the institution of a small tax of less than half of one percent on Wall Street transactions in order to generate many billions of dollars each year toward crucial public goods and services, like healthcare, education, and helping the world’s poor confront the climate crisis.

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ONE (SG) to France: Set the right example with a Robin Hood Tax

By Thulasi Mahadevan

ONE (SINGAPORE) has joined an international campaign to send a clear message to France:  allocate a portion of new tax revenues from a Financial Transactions Tax (FTT) to finance development and fight climate change.

France is about to become the first European country to adopt the so-called “Robin Hood Tax” on financial transactions.  But contrary to promises that French President Nicolas Sarkozy made when he hosted the G20 last year, France is now talking about using proceeds from the tax solely for domestic use.

“A small tax on financial transactions, if implemented globally, could raise billions of dollars to help achieve the Millennium Development Goals and assist communities affected by climate change,” says ONE (SINGAPORE) co-founder Michael Switow.  “France is taking an important first step by adopting a Robin Hood Tax, but it must follow through by using a portion of the money to finance development and fight climate change.”

French President Sarkozy and German Chancellor Merkel had been commended by many anti-poverty campaigners for their commitments to push forward with a European FTT, a very small tax on financial transactions which if implemented globally could raise up to US$600 billion a year, funds that could be used to eradicate poverty, fight climate change and reduce budget deficits.

However in a television interview on 29 January, Sarkozy said that the unilateral FTT would be used for the national “deficit” and did not mention development or climate financing. Under pressure from French civil society, Sarkozy later said that a French FTT would still go to fund development and fight climate change, but no concrete steps have been taken by his government yet in this regard.

Proper implementation of a Robin Hood Tax in France will “set a precedent for future taxes on the financial sector, both across Europe and internationally . . . to tackle the challenges of poverty at home and abroad and address the impact of climate change,” wrote ONE (SINGAPORE) President Vernetta Lopez in a letter to France’s Ambassador to Singapore.  Other civil society organisations like Oxfam GB and ONE.org also sent letters to French embassies.  The ONE.org petition was signed by more than 60,000 people.

Last year, 1000 economists – including several Nobel Prize winners – called on the G20 to adopt a FTT.  More recently, faith-based leaders have added their voices to the call.

“The FTT comes at no extra cost for the average tax payer, who is shouldering the cost of responses to global crises,” notes a representative from CIDSE, the Catholic International Cooperation for Development and Solidarity.  “The financial sector has hugely profited from globalisation.  Through the FTT it could contribute to tackling global challenges, share the financial burden of global crises and contribute to assuring a safe and healthy future for people and the planet.”

In the United States, meanwhile, the largest nurses union has pledged to march for a US version of the tax on Wall Street institutions ahead of the the G-8 and NATO summits. It’s unclear whether the Obama administration’s decision to move the G-8 Summit from Chicago to “Camp David,” a more remote location, will affect the planned demonstrations.

14 Mar 2012 (1)

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Robin Hood travels to South Africa

ONE (SINGAPORE) has joined hands with more than sixty youth groups and civil society organisations to call on South African president Jacob Zuma to push negotiators at the COP17 climate talks in Durban to adopt a Financial Transactions Tax to fund the fight against climate change.

The so-called Robin Hood Tax could raise up to US$650 billion a year by imposing a fee of just 1/20th of one percent on financial transactions.
16 Dec 2011

Costumed Robin Hoods display a giant bull’s eye in the demonstration area outside the conference hall at the COP17 climate talks. Delegates are encouraged to hit the target – with Robin Hood Tax stickers awarded to those who hit the mark. A team of robins explain more about this innovative financing mechanism.

“We’re asking the COP17 leaders to stand up for the needs of world’s poorest and most vulnerable people,” says Alex Kent from the Robin Hood Tax campaign. “Under the “Polluter Pays” principle, we’re asking them to back the Robin Hood Tax as one way to fill the Green Climate Fund, fight climate change and fight poverty. The world cannot wait. There is no Planet B.”

Over the past two weeks, ONE (SINGAPORE) has been consistently updating our members on the latest happenings at COP17 in Durban, South Africa. Countries negotiated, delegates debated, activist and various non-profit groups stood their ground representing the majority of the world and in one voice fought for climate justice.

Unfortunately, the Robin Hood Tax was not endorsed at COP17, but momentum is building for the tax’s adoption as more countries pledge to join a “coalition of the willing”.

“The number of climate calamaties in the past few months alone is mind-boggling. Huge areas of Central America and Thailand under water. Severe drought in Somalia. Crops ruined. So many lives lost,” says ONE (SINGAPORE) co-founder Michael Switow. “The people suffering the most from man-made climate change are not responsible for causing it. We need financing now to fight climate change and achieve the Millennium Development Goals. The Robin Hood Tax is a simple, fair way to do this.”

In addition to ONE (SINGAPORE), other organisations that endorsed this open letter include CIDSE (Coopération Internationale pour le Développement et la Solidarité), Earth in Brackets, ITUC (International Trade Union Confederation), Stamp Out Poverty and the UK Youth Climate Coalition.

The full text of the letter is below.

An appeal to South African President Jacob Zuma

Dear President Zuma,

We write to thank you for joining the emerging coalition of the willing on the Financial Transaction Tax (popularly known as the Robin Hood Tax) at the G20 Summit in Cannes. We urge you to continue to show leadership in support of the Robin Hood Tax as one of the mechanisms for fighting climate change and poverty at COP17.

We will not accept rich countries’ excuse that the financial crisis prevents them from fulfilling their promise to deliver $100bn annually to fight climate change. Raising the money to support developing countries in their efforts to climate-proof their economies and communities is a matter of economic and climate justice.

We urge you to help turn the economic and climate crises into a global opportunity. The Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) is a practical, effective and equitable way to ensure that the world’s richest help pay for the problems they created.

The FTT is a tiny tax (around 0.05%) levied on all financial market transactions. We pay a transaction tax every time we buy food and clothes; it’s only fair that the banking sector also pay a transaction tax. The 99% bailed out the financial sector three years ago, yet the gap between the rich and the poor is growing. It is now time for the financial sector to pay their fair share. The taxes will dis-incentivize high frequency trading and risky speculation, thus contributing to economic stability while potentially raising hundreds of billions of dollars every year from rich countries for fighting climate change (by filling the Green Climate Fund) and fighting poverty.

Emissions are growing, temperatures are rising, and the impacts of climate change present a clear and imminent threat to the millions of people it will force into poverty, hunger and life threatening circumstances, on the African continent and around the globe. We look to your leadership, President Zuma, to stand up for the needs of world’s poorest and most vulnerable people. Ensure rich countries pay their climate debt – back the FTT in Durban this week.

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