SDLP Foyle MP Mark Durkan gave his support at Westminster yesterday for the Robin Hood Tax campaign calling on David Cameron to back a tax on financial transactions on banks. The tax will be proposed by Bill Gates at today’s G20 summit in Cannes, and is being championed by Nicholas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel.
Mr Durkan has said the introduction of the Robin Hood Tax on the banks would transform our ability to invest in housing, schools and hospitals in Derry and throughout the North, and raise billions of pounds to tackle poverty and climate change at home and abroad.
The tax would only be levied on transactions between banks. Broadly speaking, a tax of just 0.05% could raise as much as £250 billion globally – every year – with the potential to avert public spending cutbacks and invest in better services.
80,000 people have written to the Prime Minister in recent weeks and seventy organisations, ranging from Barnado’s to the Methodist Church and from Oxfam to the TUC, are calling on him to back the tax.
Mr Durkan, who has consistently supported the introduction of the tax at Westminster, said:
“There is a compelling case for a financial transaction tax or Robin Hood Tax on the dealings of banks and hedge funds.
“The current international banking crisis has done enormous damage to jobs, businesses, public finances and to hundreds of millions of the world’s poorest people.
“Its consequences will continue to blight a generation to come.
“I have consistently supported this concept on grounds of sound principle and achievable, affordable practice. In Parliament, I have supported motions, urged Ministers and joined in meetings with other MPs and campaign groups to promote the idea and challenge the lazy scaremongering and evasive arguments against it.
“In the context of current world challenges, not least the exacerbation of poverty and related insecurities and recent economic experience, including the banking crisis, it seems callous to fully reject such a positive intervention.
“When ordinary citizens carry out a transaction in a shop we pay up to 17.5% tax. The Robin Hood Tax would only levy 50p on every £1,000 but transform our ability to invest in housing, schools and hospitals.
“By taking an average of 0.05 per cent from speculative banking transactions, hundreds of billions of pounds could be raised every year which could also be used to help tackle poverty and climate change, at home and abroad.
“This move would deter some of the most needless speculation while transforming the public finances.
“Banks, who had a large role in causing the current economic crisis, should do more than just pay back the bailouts or insure against future crises.
“Indeed, banking needs a new approach and this must be a top priority for MPs.
“I would also commend the work of various organisations that are supporting this campaign and have mobilised their supporters to increase the pressure for such change.”