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2nd Oct 2012

Manchester really buzzes when there's a political party Conference in town -lobbyists are rubbing shoulders with the politicians,  journalists are hovering over laptops in steamy Starbucks and activists are competing for the best spot to hand out their leaflets.  But we in Oxfam are a more sophisticated lot.  This year we've been handing out free copies of the (Not the) Financial Times - a sneak review of the world in May 2015 when unbridled rampant casino capitalism has had its day and a Robin Hood tax has reversed five years of austerity.    This is how we see the future.

This year we might just be a little bit closer to realising that future.  The biggest economies in Europe - France, Germany, Spain and Italy - already have a Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) so why can't we? 

At the fringe event on Ideas for a Fairer Economy, Guardian journalist, Polly Toynbee pointed out that a UK FTT could raise £20bn - a considerable sum for a cash-strapped economy.  Politicians often cite the need for an FTT to be global to work but as David Hillman from Stamp Out Poverty said there are lots of examples of successful FTTs across the world and every one of them has been implemented unilaterally.  And we already have an FTT on share transactions with all the revenue staying right here in the UK, no matter where in the world the transaction takes place. 

The audience showed a lot of support for a FTT and Chris Leslie, MP and member of the Shadow Treasury team appeared quite sympathetic to many of the comments from the floor.  He said afterwards that he thought the Financial Transaction Tax was "a really exciting idea with a lot of momentum behind the campaign" but stressed the need to "get the details right."

All we need now is for a few clever people to work out those detail s and perhaps our 2015 edition of the (Not the) Financial Times might not be too far off the mark.