Molly Scott Cato MEP, Green Party finance speaker, has slammed the UK government for defending the City and refusing to back a Financial Transaction Tax (FTT). Described as ‘a tiny tax for big change’, the FTT is a small levy on financial transactions such as shares, bonds and derivatives. The tax, also known as a Robin Hood Tax, has the support of more than a million people who want to see money raised from such a tax go towards funding public services, addressing poverty and fighting climate change.
EU leaders from ten countries yesterday announced what Greens described as a weak agreement which left many questions unanswered on the scale of the tax, who will pay it and how many exemptions there will be. The UK is one of the member states that has strongly opposed the tax. Molly Scott Cato said:
“By bowing to lobbying by the financial sector, George Osborne has again shown his true colours. He would rather defend the huge profits of his chums in the City than support a tax that could raise millions to help tackle climate change and address poverty. With the COP21 talks struggling over the issue of climate finance and how to fund the pledges countries have made on reducing their emissions, the Tories opposition to the FTT shows they lack any sense of commitment towards climate justice.”
The Greens have long championing a strong FTT as part of a tax justice campaign and as a way of regulating the financial sector. Dr Scott Cato added:
“The agreement reached today is marred by various exemptions granted to different types of financial products and pension funds. To be properly effective, a FTT must include comprehensive coverage of all financial products. By exempting some of the most speculative products we will fail to ensure the FTT properly curbs risky speculation, which has wreaked havoc on the economy in Europe and beyond.”