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If all students in low income countries left school with basic reading skills, 171 million people could be lifted out of poverty. It’s a startling fact, and one that demonstrates the importance of getting children in the world’s poorest countries into school and learning. The Global Partnership for Education was set up to do just that, and this week they are hosting a conference to ensure that they have enough funds from a range of donors, including governments, for this vital aim.
Progress toward education
There’s been some great progress on education over the past decade. In 2000, when the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were established over 102 million children of primary school age were out of school. By 2011 this number had fallen by half - a huge achievement.
Progress has slowed in recent years, as donor governments’ funds for global education have dried up. However, there’s a very simple mechanism by which governments could raise money to commit to funding global education, and its one that you’ve probably heard of before – a Robin Hood Tax.
In just eight days, a Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) in 11 European countries could raise enough money to reach the annual funding target of the Global Partnership for Education, and help millions of children into school. And in the past couple of months, great progress had been made on making this tiny tax on financial transactions a reality in Europe...
On the 6 May, Finance Ministers from EU countries took another important step on the road towards a Robin Hood Tax: the Finance Ministers set a concrete timeline for implementing the FTT. Robin Hood Tax campaigners were there to call for strong and bold steps, staging an epic boxing match between Robin and the bankers.
A tax for social change
Indeed, Finance Ministers left some big questions unanswered. No firm decision was taken on the scope of the tax (how many different financial and speculative transactions will be taxed) or how the revenues generated by the Financial Transaction Tax would be spent. As campaigners around the world have made clear, the FTT will only be a Robin Hood Tax if a major portion of the money raised goes to fighting climate change, and tackling poverty at home and abroad (including by funding free education for all!).
You can help by joining the over 750,000 people across the world that are backing a Robin Hood Tax, and sign our snowballing million-strong petition for the most popular tax in history! With your support, we can put pressure on the 11 European governments to ensure that we get a Robin Hood Tax that works for the world’s poorest children.
Leave a message below, if you have signed the petition!
The 11 EU participating countries are: Austria, Belgium, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain. Slovenia declined to sign the agreement on the 6th May due to internal issues.