Financial Transactions Tax – will the UK public be allowed a view?

We are told that David Cameron and George Osborne are firm in their rejection of EU proposals for a Tobin Tax, otherwise known in Europe as a Financial Transactions Tax and in the UK as a Robin Hood Tax.

As with the timetable for the Vickers reforms, the banking lobby and right-wing think tanks such as the Adam Smith Institute have been swift to issue press releases, as soon as the EU agreed to undertake further feasibility work on such a tax.  It would cause the ruin of pensioners, banks to leave the UK, death of the City of London, sky to fall in etc etc.

The report published by the EU makes a perfectly coherent case for introducing such a tax, although it acknowledges that this particular policy instrument might prove less effective than others (such as a Financial Activities Tax) were it to be introduced across the EU only rather than at global level.

The UK public will have little or no chance to give their view on the issue, despite the activities of organisations such as the Robin Hood Tax campaign (see links).  The Campaign reports that the UK public are 2 to 1 in favour of such a tax.  But unless there is more widespread support from MPs and other opinion formers, we will remain outside the EU consensus on this issue along with many others.

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