Robin Hood urges G20 leaders to “listen to the world's people, not its banks”

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date: 5 November 2010

embargo: 00.01hrs Monday 8 November 2010

G20 leaders meeting in Seoul this week are being asked to listen to their people rather than the banks, and tax financial transactions fairly, in a letter published today (Monday) and signed by 183 organisations from 42 countries around the world - including members of the UK-based Robin Hood Tax campaign.

The global alliance, the largest coalition ever seen in favour of an international Financial Transactions Tax (FTT), is made up of development, health, education, environmental NGOs and unions from 16 of the G20 countries, and represents more than 200 million people worldwide.

Organisations belonging to the Robin Hood Tax campaign - including ActionAid, Friends of the Earth and the TUC - have written to David Cameron asking that when he's in Seoul, he works with the other world leaders to 'make concrete progress towards the introduction of an internationally co-ordinated FTT'.

The letter says that such an FTT would help meet the costs 'of the global financial and economic crisis, including reducing the unacceptably high rate of job loss, and achieve key development, health, education and climate change objectives in developing countries.'

Commenting on the call on the G20 to introduce a global Robin Hood Tax, TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: 'Governments around the world are embarking on a sweeping programme of austerity measures that will lead to huge job losses and cuts in services that the most vulnerable in society rely upon.

'At the same time the banks are back to business as usual with multi-million pound salaries being paid to the chief executives of bailed-out banks and billions handed out in bonuses. A Robin Hood Tax would mean the world's banks paying to reduce deficits they helped cause and would remove the need for such swingeing cuts in public spending.'

Friends of the Earth's Head of International Climate Asad Rehman said: 'Recent floods in Pakistan and droughts in Africa show the devastating reality of climate change on people in developing countries. A Robin Hood Tax on financial transactions is a crucial measure to help generate the minimum $200 billion needed annually to begin tackling the problem.'

Jenny Ricks, Head of Campaigns at ActionAid, said: 'The G20 must now turn the global economic crisis into an opportunity to help the world's poorest. A tiny tax on the banks could raise hundreds of billions needed for those around the world feeling the effects of a crisis they did the least to create.'

In the last few weeks, the campaign for an FTT has been boosted by supportive research from the International Monetary Fund, the launch at the UN Millennium Development Goals summit of a positive expert report to the Leading Group on Innovative Financing for Development (which brings together 60 national governments), and support from the High Level Advisory Group of the UN Secretary General on Climate Change Financing (AGF). An FTT is also under active consideration by the European Union.


- Brendan Barber is attending the G20 this week as part of a delegation of union leaders from around the world. During the week the union leaders will be meeting with a number of G20 heads of state including David Cameron and South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak.

- The full text of the letter is available at and lists the many wide-ranging endorsing organisations supporting the letter.


Media enquiries:
Liz Chinchen,TUC T: 020 7467 1248 M: 07778 158175 E: [email protected]

Asha Tharoor, ActionAid T: 0203 122 0634 M: 07813 688680 E: [email protected]

Melanie Kramers, FoE T: 020 7566 1610 M: 07952 780516 E: [email protected]

In Seoul - Tim Noonan, International Trade Union Confederation M: +32 475 670 833 E: [email protected]

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