Experts say currency tax should raise $33 billion for global poverty and climate change
An international report commissioned by 12 countries, including the UK, recommends taxing the multi-million dollar trade in currency transactions to tackle poverty and climate change.
The report – commissioned by a taskforce of the Leading Group on Innovative Financing for Development – says that a tiny tax of 0.005% would generate $33 billion per year. This money could be used to help developing countries fight starvation, disease, illiteracy and the worst effects of climate change.
The taskforce is made up of 12 countries including France, Germany and Brazil, as well as the UK.
The report points out that a Currency Transaction Levy (CTL) is not only simple to implement, but that such a charge already exists. 95% of foreign exchange transactions between banks are already all processed via one high-security international computer system (CLS Bank) which already collects a per-transaction fee of 22 cents per million dollars traded.
The report is welcomed by the Robin Hood Tax campaign, which argues that the richest industry in the world – finance – needs to pay its fair share towards tackling the global problems of poverty and climate change.
David Hillman, a spokesperson for the Robin Hood Tax campaign, said: “This is an important recognition that the richest industry in the world – finance – needs to pay its fair share towards tackling the global problems of poverty and climate change.
“An international tax on currency transactions would be a big step towards a wider Robin Hood Tax on the banking system that is capable of raising the hundreds of billions of dollars a year to improve lives here and abroad. The UK Government should make clear its support for this proposal.
“We now need countries to stop writing reports on the subject and get on and announce a clear timetable for implementation.”
TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said:
“The expert’s report lays down a challenge. The EU, the G20 and the British Government should take their advice – start with a tax on currency transactions, and then build on that with a full-blooded Robin Hood Tax.
“The deficit which was created to deal with the global crisis can be controlled without swingeing cuts, and by making those who caused that crisis pay for it.”
NOTES TO EDITORS:
· The 12 nations of the Task Force are: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, France, Germany, Japan, Korea, Norway, Senegal, Spain, UK
· The full title of the report is: Report of the Committee of Experts to the Task Force on International Financial Transactions and Development. The Taskforce exists within the Leading Group on Innovative Financing for Development, a group of 55 nations.
· The Leading Group was behind the Air Ticket Solidarity Levy – the first nationally collected internationally disbursed tax that was used to fund UNITAID, a drug purchase facility to help combat HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria.
· The report argues that whilst Financial Transaction Taxes (FTTs) may be a desirable goal, it prefers to champion the CTL because it can be more rapidly implemented, helping to provide immediate new money for an urgent cause. The Robin Hood Tax agrees that taxing currency transactions provide the logical next step, the mechanisms for implementation largely exist already. But this should be part of the momentum towards a broader FTT that is capable of raising hundreds of billions a year that are needed to tackle poverty and climate change. The report cites a gap of US$156bn a year for climate change and US$168-180bn for ODA.
· There are currently 111 organisations that are supporting the Robin Hood Tax campaign including Oxfam, TUC, Stamp Out Poverty, Actionaid, Wateraid and Friends of The Earth www.robinhoodtax.org.uk
For further information:
Christian Zarro, Robin Hood Tax campaign, M: 07917 164266
David Hillman, Stamp Out Poverty, M: 07951 725 878 E: firstname.lastname@example.org