Press release: Bristol's Green MEP and councillors call on the Government to introduce a Financial Transactions Tax on the banks to help pay for local services
13th March 2017
Tomorrow Bristol Green Party councillor Carla Denyer has proposed a motion1 in support of a Financial Transactions Tax. Described as ‘a tiny tax for big change’, the Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) which is also referred to as a Robin Hood Tax or Tobin Tax, is a small levy on financial transactions on products such as shares, bonds and derivatives. More than a million people have signed a petition calling for such a tax, the proceeds from which would go towards funding public services, investing in infrastructure, addressing poverty and fighting climate change. It could raise more than £8bn of additional revenue a year from a tiny tax of about 0.05% on transactions carried out by financial institutions. It is estimated it would take just over three days of FTT revenue to fund the salaries of 1,000 new police constables, 1,000 newly qualified nurses and 1,000 teachers.2
Cllr Denyer said:
“The effects of reckless banking practices in the City of London have been felt by every community in the UK and many around the world – it is only right banks now pay their fair share to repair the damage they have caused. If local councils are being asked to bear cuts of more than 40% that have hit local people hard, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to ask the banks to pay a tax of as little as 0.05% of their transactions.”
If Bristol City Council were to pass this motion, it will join 72 other UK Councils who have passed a similar motion, including neighbouring Bath & North East Somerset.3
Cllr Denyer added, “The broad support from Councils and Councillors across the country and political spectrum should encourage the Government to adopt the FTT, as it gives them a clear mandate. I hope to add Bristol to that list to strengthen the case further. Unfortunately, this month my motion is at the end of the agenda, so there will probably not be time to debate it. However, I will keep on submitting it until the debate takes place. I (and Robin) will be back!”
Molly Scott Cato, Bristol’s Green MEP, said:
“The willingness of the Tories to oppose and block this popular and common sense tax at every turn shows a government that is putting the huge profits of the City ahead of the needs of some of the world’s poorest communities, public services in this country and the climate.”
"A Financial Transaction tax is small change for the financial sector but could go a long way to helping deliver economic and climate justice. Last December 10 EU Finance Ministers publicly declared their support for the tax. The UK of course wasn’t one of them and with Theresa May threatening to turn the UK into a low tax economy, Brexit makes it even less likely we will see this tax introduced in the UK. Even more important therefore that councils pile on the pressure by passing a motion of support.”
1. The full wording of the motion is available here (Motion 11, pp11-12): https://democracy.bristol.gov.uk/documents/g268/Agenda%20frontsheet%2014th-Mar-2017%2018.15%20Full%20Council.pdf?T=0
2. There are a approximately 17,000 primary schools in the UK (Table 2a) https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/219260/sfr10-2012.pdf
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