‘Tax the banks, not the poor’ sentiment overwhelms budget

Robin Hood’s mantra has been causing quite a stir this week.

The recent Budget has been labeled a ‘Budget by the rich, for the rich,’ particularly because of the reduction of the 50p tax rate to 45p from next year.

Simon Chouffot, spokesperson for the Robin Hood Tax campaign said “This is less a ‘Robin Hood’ Budget and more Sheriff of Nottingham – protecting the privileged few at the expense of services for the poorest.

Osborne is barking up the wrong tree in this Budget. He won’t bring down the deficit and protect those at the bottom by letting the richest off the hook. If we are really going to ‘earn our way’ out of this economic mess we should be asking the City of London to pay its share. Yet tweaking the bank levy will raise no new money from the Square Mile. This is another good Budget for bankers.”

UK Uncut, Robin Hood Tax campaigners and anti-austerity protestors brilliantly managed to over-shadow MPs reactions to the Budget by chanting ‘tax the banks, not the poor’ which was the soundtrack to all news coverage. Tim Farron, President of the Liberal Democrats said that he didn’t know why the Conservatives were cutting the top tax rate, whilst Chris Leslie, Shadow Treasury Minister said that Labour wouldn’t be endorsing this cut. The public anger evident from this clip is what really stands out.

Paul Kenny, general secretary of the GMB, said: “The different treatment of people at either end of the income scale is stark. Ordinary families are losing their tax credits and child allowances and suffering pay freezes while people on top salaries of £150,000 to £1 million a year are getting cash hand outs.” 

The Budget has also announced a freeze on the tax-free personal allowance of pensioners and is being dubbed the ‘granny tax.’ However, effects of the hardest hit are yet to come – the emphasis on cuts in expenditure that have never been tried before.

Dave Prentis, General Secretary of the union Unison, really hit the nail on the head: “if the 50p tax rate wasn’t effective because people avoided it, the correct action was not to lower it but to make sure people paid it.”

This has been a sad week for people fighting to save the NHS, fighting for justice for the 99%, and fighting against austerity.

One highlight was the fantastic Budget stunt – several hundred protestors were brought together by UK Uncut activists to form a dole queue outside Downing Street. The aim was to recreate Saatchi & Saatchi’s 1979 Tory election campaign ‘Labour isn’t working’ to highlight rising unemployment with a play on words: ‘austerity isn’t working.’

Their efforts were rewarded with coverage on BBC News at One, Six and Ten.

Check out footage of the action featured on the Guardian’s website

“The Chancellor’s Budget has given a helping hand-out to his rich friends in the City and delivered a slap in the face to the unemployed and low paid families.”

A Robin Hood Tax can help to redress the balance of both UK and global inequality. We need to keep telling George Osborne that the cuts aren’t working. Be part of the world’s biggest bank job and ask your MP to support a Robin Hood Tax now


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