In the days leading up to yesterday’s European Growth summit in Brussels, a Global Week of Actions took place in more than 35 countries to put pressure on leaders to back a financial transaction tax (FTT) and ensure proceeds are used to tackle poverty and climate change.
Here are just some of the highlights from what has been an incredible week for the campaign:
As G8 leaders met at Camp David (USA), where discussions were dominated by the Eurozone crisis, the National Nurses Union (NNU) won their battle with the mayor of Chicago to hold a RHT rally. More than 1000 nurses took to the streets and called on world leaders to introduce an FTT which would raise billions of dollars a year to help meet the rising costs of the banking crisis, protect public services at home, and tackle poverty and climate change abroad. The nurses created a media storm in the US and made front-page news of the Chicago Tribune. You can see more pictures from the rally here and watch an excellent short film from the event.
Throughout the week Robin Hoods gathered on Mount Fuji in Japan, outside Big Ben in Britain, in Italy, India, Brazil, Zambia, Malawi, Belgium and more – representing a movement of millions spread across five continents. Take a look at the Global Week of Action photo gallery.
At the same time 200 civil society organisations from 18 European countries (including NGOs, trade unions and faith groups) wrote to European Heads of States urging them to show their support for an FTT and to reach an urgent agreement on its implementation. The letters were received just days before the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of the FTT (487 to 152). With a decisive majority in support of the FTT, the European Parliament has sent a strong signal to governments to move ahead with the tax.
The global momentum and reach of the campaign has now been confirmed, with the Robin Hood Tax making it’s way into the Oxford Online Dictionary. Defined as:
“A tax aiming to redistribute resources in order to achieve greater social equality, especially a proposed tax on transactions made by financial institutions”
Whilst all week citizens from across the world have been calling on leaders to implement an FTT, David Cameron chose to ignore these voices as he continues to stall progress on the FTT in Europe. In a statement following yesterday’s EU Summit, he said:
“The Financial Transactions Tax is a bad idea – it will put up the cost of people’s insurance, put up the cost of people’s pensions, it will cost many, many jobs. It will make Europe less competitive and I will fight it all the way“.
Every point Cameron makes is false!
• An FTT would actually boost economic growth and competitiveness. According to the European Commission, growth in Europe would increase by 0.2% to 0.4%.
• An FTT would help create new jobs. Avinash Persaud (a former City figure) shows that 75,000 new jobs would be created in the UK alone.
• Ordinary citizens will not pay the cost of the FTT. It will be paid by the buyers/sellers of financial assets – these are banks and other financial institutions, such as hedge funds, whose clients are often high-net-worth individuals. Ordinary people do not trade bonds or derivatives.
• FTTs will not affect our pension funds. Pension funds invest over the long-term, they turn over their portfolio only once every 2 years. A tiny tax applied at entry and exit from the market would therefore be negligible.
• Of course Cameron will fight the FTT “all the way”. It is disappointing but should not come as a surprise that he puts the interests of his friends in the City above the interests of the country.