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  1. #1

    Should we have a 'Robin Hood' tax?

    Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, has reignited the debate over the Tobin or 'Robin Hood' tax on financial transactions.

    Writing in the Financial Times today Williams argues the 'far-reaching' move would be a good way to address the 'widespread exasperation with the financial establishment' that the protestors at St Paul's have tapped into.

    His article follows a report last week from the Vatican which even more strongly endorsed the idea of a financial transaction tax.

    As Williams points out the idea has also been supported by George Soros and Bill Gates, who, he says, 'cannot be written off as naive anti-capitalists'.

    In theory a financial transaction tax is very attractive. Applied universally across all markets it could raise lots of money and avoid the danger of hurting one sector or jurisdiction more than another.

    But how do you get to such an ideal position? The Tobin tax is a bit like nuclear disarmament. You want to get there, but do you go on your own and abandon the weapons unilaterally?

    The City and the chancellor are aghast at the notion of London becoming uncompetitive versus other financial centres if such a tax was levied here first.

    Unfortunately, the dangerous farce in the eurozone right now shows how difficult it is to coordinate such moves internationally.

    The debate Williams and the demonstrators have started is a good one. But where do we go from here?

  2. #2
    I think this would be far preferable to the iniquitously high VAT, which seriously stutifies all trade and services. Cut VAT by 50% and the much needed growth may come fast.

  3. #3
    Where should we go from here? Hopefully nowhere.

  4. #4
    I understand the Tobin tax proposed by the EU bureaucrats was to pay for EU expenditure or Euro country rescues and since 70% of the EU total raised would come from London, we'd be paying even more into the EU black hole of endless expenditure.

    There is also the argument that if only the EU imposed this tax, it would be easy for the business to be moved to other countries where such a tax wasn't imposed, although that argument also holds true for the stamp duty imposed on share transactions which we do have.

    If we decide to impose such a tax to raise funds to help with our budget shortfall that's one thing, but if it's to pay more into the EU, forget it.


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