The Robin Hood Tax: tax on bankers could raise billions of dollars to tackle poverty

Photo: Timothy Herbert/Oxfam Aus

The Robin Hood Tax is a tiny tax on bankers that could raise billions of dollars around the world to tackle poverty and climate change abroad, as well as poverty here at home.

How does the Robin Hood Tax work?

Sarah Meads
Click on the photo to listen to Oxfam's Senior Policy Analyst Sarah Meads talk to Radio New Zealand about the need for a financial transaction tax. March 2012.

The Robin Hood tax (also known as the Financial Transactions Tax) is a tax levied at a very low level, say 0.05 per cent (5c for every $100), on all financial transactions such as stocks, bonds, commodity trading and currency transactions. At such a low level, the tax would have no impact on our everyday shopping or even buying foreign currency for a holiday. But it would raise significant amounts of money when levied on big financial institutions and speculators that move hundreds of millions of dollars around daily in casino-style trading.

The funds raised from the tax could be used to make a real difference to people living in poverty and facing the devastating impacts of climate change.

International support for the Robin Hood Tax is growing – particularly in France, Germany and the UK. World leaders are also looking at other taxes on the financial sector, particularly on excess profits and bonuses. New Zealand needs to catch up.

Bill English – be our Robin Hood and give New Zealand's support to the tax that helps pay the bills without burdening the poor.

Why is the Robin Hood Tax such a great idea?

Bill Nighy explains this 'sweet, little idea' in the video below.


The Robin Hood Tax


What needs to happen here and around the world?

We need to ask our leaders here in New Zealand to seriously consider the option of a financial transaction tax as soon as possible. Politicians around the world are doing just that - the UK's Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and other European heads of state such as France's Nicolas Sarkozy have already spoken favourably about the tax and the Americans are also exploring similar avenues.

Is this an easy way to raise lots of money?

Yes. 0.05 per cent of $20,000 is only $10, so it hardly affects small transactions. However, where banks are changing $20 million, it could raise $100,000. All of this money could be spent on making the world a better place.

Robin Hood Tax short film

Directed by Harry Potter/Tarzan Director David Yates, some of Europe’s biggest actors star in a new Robin Hood Tax campaign film. The short film is set in a news studio ten years in the future where guests highlight how countries have reaped huge benefits by implementing the Robin Hood Tax.

The Robin Hood Tax – what next?

This tax is an entirely realistic proposition. The time is right to ensure financial institutions make a contribution to the world they work in. You can help make this happen.