The campaign to get a Robin Hood Tax on financial transactions launched just six months ago. But what a six months! Here are some highlights from the diary of a Robin Hood Tax campaigner….
February: starting strong
- Launch of the campaign to secure a Robin Hood Tax to raise £250 billion a year to support public services, fight poverty, and combat climate change.
- Bill Nighy and Richard Curtis team up to produce the hit online film, The Banker.
- Within two weeks, the campaign has the support of 112,000 Facebook fans and 350 economists.
- Big names to pledge their support include the Archbishop of Canterbury and economist Jeffrey Sachs.
- Twitter arrows fired at MPs prompt 65 of them to attend a special parliamentary briefing at Westminster.
March: going global
- Robin hot-foots it across the world and campaigns start in Germany, Australia and Canada.
- Members of the European Parliament vote in favour of a resolution on “making financial transactions taxes work” by a massive 536-80.
- Back in the UK, Gordon Brown describes our efforts as “a formidable online campaign”.
April: reports and responses
- Launch of a new online film starring Sir Ben Kingsley and actors from Harry Potter and Skins.
- Election campaigning hots up. Thousands of you lobby your prospective parliamentary candidates to support a Robin Hood Tax and in the last week before the election, party leaders and candidates receive an amazing 40,000 emails.
- The Liberal Democrats are the first party to support the tax in their election manifesto, quickly followed by the Green Party and Plaid Cymru.
- The IMF (International Monetary Fund) publishes a report, proposing two taxes on the profits and incomes of banks and other financial institutions. It’s progress, but the proposed taxes lack ambition and make no commitment to helping the poor or tackling climate change. The fight continues.
May: welcome to Westminster
- Robin Hood Tax Global Day of Action! In the UK, photos of more than 3,400 supporters are delivered to the fresh intake of MPs in Parliament.
June: budgets and billboards
- Greece joins France, Germany, Austria, Belgium and Indonesia in publicly supporting a Financial Transaction Tax.
- You help raise over £6,000 in the run up to the Emergency Budget to pay for Robin Hood Tax billboards in Westminster Tube station, and send over 6,500 emails to the Chancellor.
July: hopes are high
- Despite the lack of international agreement so far, there are several encouraging government announcements on the introduction of taxes on financial institutions.
- The UK proposes a unilateral ‘bank levy’ (on bank borrowings) expected to raise around £2.4bn by 2014/15. A small, but important, step towards changing banks’ behaviour and encouraging fewer risks.
- The coalition government also announce that they will look into how a Financial Activities Tax (on bonuses and profits) could work in practice, as recommended by the IMF.
August and onwards: what next for Robin Hood?
So after that whirlwind of activity – what now? The Robin Hood Tax campaign has a long way to go, so we will keep up the call for an ambitious tax on banks, particularly in the run up to the G20 meetings in South Korea in November, and France next year.
Governments clearly see the need for the financial sector to start taking some financial responsibility for the risks they take, a great start.
But now we need to ensure the money raised by a financial transaction tax goes toward fighting poverty and tackling climate change. This is the first step to a financial sector that works for development.
Thank you to all you merry men and women who’ve supported our campaign since February. There will be many more merry-making opportunities over the coming months – so remember to sign up here and keep an eye out for more ways to get involved.
You thought this was busy, this is just the start…
Posted by Katy Harris, Campaigns team