Mar 07 2011
Robin Hood set to become European hero!
I am heading for Strasbourg where on Tuesday the Tories are set to ape the Sheriff of Nottingham. The European Parliamentary Labour Party will be campaigning and voting in favour of the report on Innovative Financing at Global and European Level and therefore for the introduction of a Financial Transaction Tax or “Robin Hood Tax”.
I strongly support the campaign for greater fairness in taxation, which must include a higher contribution from the currently under-taxed financial sector. Such a tax would be most effective at a global level, but in the absence of global agreement we must support the introduction of a Robin Hood Tax at the European level – as a first step. It is important for Europe to lead this debate and ensure we make progress towards greater tax justice.
It will be a close vote with the British Conservative group opposing the Robin Hood Tax. However, like Robin Hood, Labour will be working for fairness and tax justice.
The UK Robin Hood Tax Campaign is one of the best currently organised at European Union level. They represent 115 UK organisations including: Dr Barnardo’s, Oxfam, Friends of the Earth and the Salvation Army.
All the members of the group strongly support the introduction of a Financial Transaction Tax at European level. This is a measure to ensure the financial sector pays its fair share. Proceeds could help tackle poverty both within the EU and in developing countries and combat the adverse effects of climate change.
There was universal disappointment that the previous proposal for the introduction of a European level financial transaction tax in the European Parliament Report “on innovative financing at Global and European level” was blocked during the Economic Committee vote. However, this was a very narrow defeat and it will be possible to reverse this during the vote on Tuesday the 8th March.
The banking and financial crisis has left many European governments with huge deficits in their national budgets. The Robin Hood Tax Campaign demands that the financial sector make a greater contribution to repairing the damage that they caused with their greed and reckless speculation. It is not acceptable for policy makers to delay or prevaricate on decision making on this matter. The campaigners are asking European MPs to support the introduction of a Financial Transaction Tax at European level, without waiting for the G20 to take a decision or for the Commission to renew its position against a Financial Transaction Tax.
I will be urging all my colleagues to vote for an EU Financial Transaction Tax in the plenary vote tomorrow Tuesday 8th March and ensure there is no ‘U-turn’. Any reversal on the Robin Hood tax would be taken as a negative sign by many voters and taxpayers who follow this issue across Europe. They would conclude that this meant business as usual for the greedy bankers.
Our recent international day of action on February 17th showed widespread popular support for an Financial Transaction Tax in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK. We would be more than happy to see Robin Hood become a hero in these countries also.