Desmond Tutu shows support for Robin Hood Tax
Archbishop Desmond Tutu is the latest global figure to come out in support of the Robin Hood Tax campaign.
Writing in Saturday’s Guardian, he urged G20 leaders to get behind Sarkozy and ‘introduce a tax on financial transactions to help low-income countries hit by the economic crisis and to protect poor people from climate change’.
He said that a failure to reach global agreement should not be an excuse for leaders not to implement the tax, and argued that ‘instead willing countries should press ahead with their own tax.’
He also pointed to existing Financial Transaction Taxes in countries including the UK and the US as proof of their feasibility.
Read the full letter below or on the Guardian website.
Tutu's challenge to G20 leaders
I urge G20 leaders meeting in Cannes next month to back the efforts of President Sarkozy to introduce a tax on financial transactions to help low-income countries hit by the economic crisis and to protect poor people from climate change. While the international community has been understandably occupied by financial turmoil in Europe and on efforts to boost economic recovery, we must not forget the needs of the world's poorest.
The World Bank estimates that 64 million people have been pushed into extreme poverty as a result of the financial crisis triggered by the collapse of Lehman Brothers three years ago. And research for Oxfam suggests that falls in remittances, export earnings and tax revenues have left low-income countries with a $65bn hole in their budgets. This problem is exacerbated by reduced aid flows as many rich countries struggle to balance their own budgets. Meanwhile the gathering pace of climate change has left millions more people increasingly at risk of hunger, homelessness and human suffering caused by changing weather.
A global Robin Hood tax on financial transactions could raise as much as $400bn for good causes. But failure to reach global agreement should not be used as an excuse for inaction; instead willing countries should press ahead with their own tax. Critics should not pretend this cannot be done – a number of countries, including the UK, US and Brazil, already have financial transaction taxes. In Cannes the G20 has a chance to show it can assume the mantle of global economic leadership in these difficult times. Backing a financial transaction tax to help the world's poorest would show our leaders are ready to rise to the challenge.
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu
Global Ambassador for Oxfam