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Majority of Scots want groundbreaking new tax on banks. New poll reveals support for 'Robin Hood' charge on financial transactions

Posted by Adrian Doherty Oxfam Scotland Social & Digital Media Volunteer

22nd Jun 2011

More than half of all Scots believe the Government should introduce a new financial transaction tax (FTT) to be spent on fighting poverty at home and abroad, according to a new poll released today [Wednesday] in advance of the European Council (Heads of State) meeting tomorrow [Thursday].

The YouGov survey, commissioned by Oxfam Scotland, reveals that 62 per cent of Scots support the idea of a charge on the transactions between financial institutions. Only 20 per cent were opposed to the idea, with 18 per cent unsure.

A financial transaction, or 'Robin Hood', tax is a charge on transactions between financial institutions - it is not a tax on high street customers' routine business. An Oxfam briefing paper, published earlier this week, said that an EU-wide charge set at 0.05% of each transaction would raise €210bn (£185bn) annually. Globally that figure rises to €283bn (£250bn).

Today [Wednesday] thousands of social justice activists in 40 different countries will take part in a global day of action, demanding leaders prioritise the 'Robin Hood' tax proposals.

Malcolm Fleming, Campaigns Manager, Oxfam Scotland, said:

"A 'Robin Hood' tax is about fairness. It is about targeting those who have done so much to create economic hardship and working with them to repair some of the damage they have done. It is clear that the tax enjoys wide-ranging public support in Scotland - sending a clear message to European Heads of State as they meet tomorrow.

"Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg and Spain are among the countries which already support an FTT. Europe should seize this crucial chance to take a first step now - ahead of November's G20 summit in France where agreement at a European level could then be extended to other willing countries."

The financial transaction tax is backed by Nobel Prize-winning economists Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz; the latter is the most recent addition to the Scottish Government's Council of Economic Advisors. Leading financiers such as George Soros and Warren Buffet also support the proposal.

YouGov surveyed 1070 people across Scotland.

On Monday, June 20, Oxfam Published briefing paper 'The Robin Hood Tax: the Time is Now'. It shows that an EU-wide FTT of about 0.05% on bond, share, currency and derivatives would raise €210bn annually. Globally it would raise $400bn (€283bn).

Respondents to the YouGov poll were asked: "Some campaigners have called for the government to introduce a tax on bank transactions. This would be a tax between financial institutions and not on routine banking transactions of high street customers...

"Would you support or oppose a tax on the UK's financial institutions if the money raised went towards protecting public services and tackling poverty at home and abroad."

Blog post written by Adrian Doherty

Oxfam Scotland Social & Digital Media Volunteer

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