Hoodwinked, or the world's biggest bank job?
This is the motto of the latest tax campaign, the Robin Hood Tax. Shamelessly stolen from the Daily Mirror who came up with this gem of a picture back in 2008 when then Chancellor Alistair Darling came up with the idea of a 45% tax, which miraculously became 50% a few months later, this new campaign also wants to steal from the rich and give to the poor, but with a few character changes.
The rich targets of this new campaign are the villains of the hour, the banks, specifically those with investment divisions – HSBC, Barclays and RBS.
The campaign, a coalition of 115 UK organisations including Actionaid, Oxfam, Friends of the Earth, Save the Children and the TUC, want to levy a 0.05% charge on certain financial transations and then redistribute that wealth.
Although it is at this point the message gets a little vague. Max Lawson, spokesperson for the Robin Hood Tax Campaign, says: “If banks paid their fair share we could avoid the worst of the cuts and help those hit hardest by the financial crisis they did nothing to cause". The campaign calls for justice, “justice for ordinary families and businesses. For the one in five British families faced with a choice between buying food or paying the heating bill. For the 200 million people around the world forced into poverty by a financial crisis they did absolutely nothing to bring about.”
We also have some lovely stats about bankers bonuses,
- “The total bonus pot for the UK’s largest three banks, Barclays, HSBC and RBS, is expected to be approximately £5 billion, enough money to reverse real term cuts to the NHS budget this year.
- This year’s bonus pot for Barclays Capital alone (£2.6 billion) could reverse cuts to the Education Maintenance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance and Housing Benefit combined.
- Lloyds and RBS, who are majority owned by the government, will reward their CEOs a total of £3.5 million (Eric Daniels £1.45 million, Stephen Hester £2.04 million) in bonuses, enough to pay for 160 teachers”
But we aren’t talking about taxing bankers’ bonuses here (been there, done that), so, while lovely and emotive, I am not sure they are relevant?
What emerges is that this campaign appears to actually be a “financial transactions tax for climate funding”, and that the ‘poor’ in this robin hood play is actually not the poor British family, but some trees:
“There is strong justification for the revenue from financial transaction taxes to be directed towards global issues, like climate change and international development. The justification is that although revenue generated from a FTT would be highly concentrated in a few countries, namely those with major financial centres, investors the world over would pay the tax when using central market places.”
Not sure about you, but I think I could use my share of the bank bail out (£31,250) slightly better than a tree.