Robin Hood Tax?

I’ve been contacted by someone in the URC asking whether I’ll promote one of their current campaigns. (This comes after I came out in favour of one of the points in the recent agreement between Episcopalians, Methodists and United Reformed Church people).

Its this Robin Hood Tax. I’m happy to point people towards it.

The United Reformed Church has given its support to the campaign for a ‘Robin Hood Tax’ (Financial Transaction Tax), launched today. You will no doubt have seen articles in the press and other media reports. We encourage you to read the news item on the URC website ( and go to for full details.

The idea is this: The Robin Hood Tax is a tiny tax on bankers that would raise billions to tackle poverty and climate change, at home and abroad. By taking an average of 0.05% from speculative banking transactions, hundreds of billions of pounds would be raised every year.

The only thing is, I can’t quite make up my mind whether I feel supportive about it or not. It seems like such a good idea when you first think about it, but I’ve got a lingering doubt that it is not a campaign that is achievable and I just can’t work out whether it is desirable. If it were implemented peacemeal, would it mean financial institutions moving to countries which did not impose the tax? If it did, the negative effect on domestic poverty could be profound. I presume that the robin hood tax would make my pension pot smaller, though I don’t think this is highlighted on the campaign website.

What do other people think? Is this so obvious, its a wonder it hasn’t been implemented before? Or alternatively, does this proposal hide something that we should fear?


  1. Zebadee says

    Is the Robin Hood Tax the same as the Tobin Tax suggestions? If so it is not worthy of everyones support?

  2. Kelvin says

    Its similar to the Tobin tax, but they claim it is different because the motive is poverty relief rather than to slow the economy down.

  3. It certainly seems an interesting idea.
    I presume there’s a reason why Bill Nighy character’s portrayed as being shifty in the video.
    The “indirect/derivative” marketplace would need to be clearly defined.
    If the banks were to take it out on people, would they simply raise charges (eg for using cash-machines) to recoup the difference again? (Notably, I thought the idea was in Obama’s USA, there was to be a split between front/back-end banking that way.)
    Does it make the government more controlling, or even too closely involved in banking?

  4. Gilly says

    I think at some point it says the tax will be on transactions that don’t involve individuals but all such transactions ultimately involve individuals – shareholders, pension funds, local councils etc. So in the end its you and I who are taxed, without even knowing it. I’d rather my taxes were transparent and I will give as I wish to charities of my choice.

Speak Your Mind