Brid Smith call for Robin Hood Tax on Financial Speculation instead of Water Charges


Eleven countries – Belgium, Slovenia, Slovakia, Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Estonia. Finland. France Germany – will impose a ‘Robin Hood tax on financial speculation but Ireland- which is supposed to be strapped for cash – will not.

In a statement today Brid Smith, the Dublin MEP candidate from People Before Profit said:

‘The Financial Transaction Tax is the most modest proposal that could be imagined. It amounts to a mere 0.1 percent tax on share and bond transaction and a 0.01% tax on derivatives. It represents a tiny pay back from the financial sector for the damage they have caused to the global economy. The bail out of banks by nation states has cost taxpayers €4.6 trillion or 39% of the EU 27 budget for 2009. 

‘Yet the lobbying of the giant corporations has deterred the Irish government from imposing the tax. This is despite the fact that the greed of the same financials sector has cost the Irish taxpayer between €80 and €90 billion.

‘The Robin Hood tax would raise between €490 and €730million a year according to an ESRI/Central Bank research. It would raise more than the revenue that the government proposes to get from water charges.

‘According to Phil Hogan, it is necessary to double spending on water from €300 to €600million – or in other words raise to raise an extra €300 million a year.

‘But the Robin Hood tax could possibly raise twice that sum – and show that the government was serious about ‘burden sharing’.

‘The reality, however, is that the population at large has become an easy target for stealth taxes and the government has become so cosy with the giant corporations that it does not even dream of taxing them.

‘Instead it torts out the old line that it will cost jobs. But it carried out no risk analysis to show how many jobs that might to be lost. It did no independent research but instead relied on an embedded lobbying group, the IFSC Clearing House Group – which is composed of representatives of the financial sector – to rubbish the very idea of a Robin Hood tax.

‘Increasing the stealth taxes the mass of people will decrease purchasing power. And that also leads to the loss of jobs. Who is to say that a tiny tax on speculation will mean more job losses?

‘The Labour Party is supporting proposals to tax the mass of the people while letting those who caused the economic crash off scott free. It is therefore utterly hypocritical of their candidates to claim that they have restrained Fine Gael. They have become active collaborators in the politics of greed rather than innocent bystanders.”