Robin Hood Tax would have little impact on us, say small businesses
Embargo: 0.00hrs Tuesday March 23
If tax rises are needed to reduce the UK’s growing budget deficit then a tax on financial transactions is small businesses’ most preferred option, according to an Ipsos MORI poll for the Robin Hood Tax campaign, although a cut in public spending would be favoured above a tax rise.
More than half of the 300 leaders of small and medium sized enterprises questioned for the poll say that a Robin Hood Tax would not affect their business (36%) or would have only a very small impact (19%).
Of five options for cutting the deficit, 22% opted for a Robin Hood Tax as their first option. This is almost twice as many as chose an increase in VAT (13%), three times the number that preferred an increase in income tax or national insurance contributions (7%) and nearly four times the number that selected an increase in corporation tax (6%). Only a cut in public spending (37%) was more popular as a way of reducing the deficit.
The campaign is made up of some 100 development agencies, anti-poverty groups, environmentalists, faith bodies and unions and was launched last month with a short film written and directed by Richard Curtis and starring Bill Nighy. It is calling on all political parties to introduce a tax on share, currency and derivative transactions between banks and other financial institutions to repair the damage done by the economic crisis and fund global good causes. Experts say a global tax at an average rate of 0.05% could raise about £250bn which could be used to tackle poverty at home and abroad and fund action on climate change.
As a first step, the campaign is urging the Chancellor to use this week’s Budget to introduce a 0.005 per cent stamp duty on all sterling transactions – equivalent to just 5p for every £1,000 traded. This would raise £3 billion – equivalent to more than a penny on the basic rate of income tax.
A Robin Hood Tax campaign spokesperson said: “The majority of small business leaders are saying that taxing banks’ financial transactions will not have a big impact on their businesses.
“With experts warning that tax increases will be necessary to balance the UK’s books, the Robin Hood Tax is the only fair way to raise extra money without hurting people already suffering in the economic crisis.”
The survey comes amongst other evidence of growing support for a Robin Hood Tax.
The campaign now has more than 130,000 followers on Facebook, more than four times the combined total of the three main political parties.
More than 350 economists have signed a letter urging the G20 to introduce a Robin Hood Tax.
A YouGov Oxfam poll carried out in November ahead of the pre-Budget report found that twice as many people support a tax on financial transactions than oppose it with backing coming from across the political spectrum.
Notes to editors:
The poll was conducted 1-5 March 2010 by telephone. Results are based on interviews with 301 senior financial decision makers of businesses with a turnover between £50,000-£100,000 and have been weighted.
A copy of the poll results is attached.
The full Robin Hood Tax Budget Submission is available athttp://www.tuc.org.uk/extras/robinhoodbudget.pdf
There are 94 organisations supporting the Robin Hood Tax Campaign including ActionAid, Barnardo’s, Cafod, Christian Aid, Comic Relief, Disability Alliance, General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches, National Council for Voluntary Organisations, nef (the new economics foundation), Oxfam GB, RSPB, The Salvation Army, Save the Children UK, Stamp Out Poverty, Stop AIDS Campaign, Tearfund, Trades Union Congress and seventeen trade unions, UNA-UK, Unicef UK, YWCA, Zacchaeus 2000 Trust.
Jon Slater, Oxfam T: 01865 472249 M: 07876 476403 or Sarah Dransfield, T: 01865 472269 M: 07767 085636
 Question asked: “I’m going to read out a list of options available to the Government in light of the recession and growing public deficit. Thinking specifically about the impact on your business were the Government to introduce each option, please can you put these in order of your preference, where 1 is most preferred and 5 is least preferred. Saying an option is most preferred does not necessarily mean that you would support this option if it was introduced.
 Give a rating of 2 on a 5-point scale where 1 means no impact at all and 5 means a strong impact