The most popular tax in history? The ‘Million Strong’ campaign for a Robin Hood Tax

From Rome to Berlin, Robin Hood Tax campaigners are coming together this week to present a ‘Million Strong’ petition to European leaders. Since the campaign launched, supporters in Europe have taken over a million actions in support of the Financial Transaction Tax (FTT), making it one of the most popular taxes in history.

The ‘million strong’ petition is being handed in across Europe as 11 EU governments are finalising a deal on the FTT – a tiny tax on banks which could raise billions to fight poverty, inequality and climate change both in Europe and developing countries – in June.

This milestone has been a long-time coming, so it’s useful to remind ourselves what a different this tiny tax could make:

  • €5.5 billion ($6.2bn) puts every child on earth in primary school
  • Allocating a quarter of annual revenues to the Green Climate Fund would guarantee an annual predictable replenishment of almost €10bn
  • €7 billion ($7.7bn) pays for free-at-point of-use public health care for 200,000 people

The petition is a wakeup call for EU leaders to put the provision of schools, hospitals and the fight against climate change before the profits of the banks. And it’s a reminder that it’s high-time that they turned their words of commitment into action.

It’s also an opportunity to reflect on the strength of the movement. Born in the wake of the financial crisis – as the iron fist of austerity descended Europe into mass unemployment and overseas aid fell – the Financial Transaction Tax movement has blossomed through its call for economic justice for all. And the million-strong petition is testament to its power and perseverance.  

The fact that we are so close to an agreement on the tax also shows that good things are worth waiting for. But more importantly, they are worth fighting for. The wait and the fight must continue as an agreement on the design of the tax is expected before the EU breaks for its summer holidays in June.

Now, more than ever, we need to keep knocking on governments’ doors, urging them to turn words into action in the face of ongoing lobbying from the financial sector, and to listen to the public not private interest.

What you can do now

Support the Robin Hood Tax now

This entry posted by Francesca Carnibella, Oxfam Global Campaigner, Inequality, on 12 May 2015.

Photo: Robin Hood campaigners outside the German Finance Ministry handing in the Million Strong petition. Credit: DGB/Steinle, 7 May 2015

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