EU approval of financial transaction tax welcomed

22 January 2013 - 11:34am
Press release

War on Want hails ‘major victory' for 15-year campaign

The European Council's green light to a broad-based financial transaction tax has been welcomed by anti-poverty campaigners as a major victory in the battle for a more equitable banking system.

Scattered coinsThe tax, approved by European finance ministers meeting this morning in Brussels, will cover inter-bank trading in shares, bonds and derivatives, and will raise an estimated 37 billion euros a year when introduced in 2014.

War on Want's Executive Director John Hilary said: “Today marks a significant milestone in the long battle to secure a financial transaction tax in Europe. Not only will the tax raise considerable sums of money for use in the fight against poverty, but it will also provide a mechanism to stabilise the trading system in future. At last the banks can start to repay some of their debt to European society.”

The financial transaction tax will be based on the 2011 proposal submitted by the European Commission, comprising a 0.1% tax on shares and bond transactions plus a 0.01% tax on derivatives trades.

While the UK government refuses to introduce a financial transaction tax, the qualified majority in favour within the European Council means it can now go ahead via the enhanced cooperation procedure.

At least 11 countries have agreed to participate in introducing the tax: Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Austria, Portugal, Greece, Estonia, Slovakia and Slovenia.

The European Parliament has already voted overwhelmingly in favour of the tax in December 2012.


NOTES TO EDITORS

War on Want first launched the campaign for a Tobin tax in 1998 in the wake of the East Asian financial crisis, and today chairs Stamp Out Poverty, the body coordinating the Robin Hood Tax campaign.

CONTACT

Ruth Tanner, War on Want media office (+44) (0)20 7324 5040 or (+44) (0)7432 630827

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