date: 18 June 2012
embargo: For immediate release
Support for a financial transactions tax (FTT) - often called the Robin Hood Tax - to make banks and financial institutions pay something back to society has the support of almost two-thirds of voters (63 per cent) in 13 countries around the world, according to a new global poll published by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) today (Monday).
Unions will deliver the polling to world leaders at the G20 summit in Los Cabos in Mexico in a bid to push the FTT back on to the G20 agenda. French President Francois Hollande also plans to raise the issue with fellow world leaders at the first G20 to take place since his election in May.
The FTT enjoys equally strong support in the surveyed G20 countries (63 per cent) and is even more popular in the six EU countries polled, with 73 per cent support - 10 points above the global average. Later this week (Friday) EU finance ministers will meet to decide on an EU-level FTT with the ITUC poll suggesting that the majority of European voters want them to go ahead.
According to the ITUC poll, awareness of a financial transactions tax is low in the US, with only 17 per cent of respondents aware of the FTT as a way for banks to contribute to society. However, when the thinking behind the tax was explained, support reached 63 per cent.
Commenting on the polling, TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: 'It's time for the British government to get off the fence, instead of acting as a cheerleader for the interests of the city. It's clear there is over whelming public support around the world for an FTT which would transform public finances and help drive growth and social justice.'
ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow said: 'Four years on from the crisis, global unemployment is climbing to 210 million, incomes are going down and the majority of people can't save any money. A FTT would put 480 million Euros back into the global economy and curb financial speculation.
'There is growing anger and resentment that international banks and large corporations haven't paid enough to fix the global financial crisis - 78 per cent of the public think international banks should pay more, and 77 per cent that large corporations should pay more.
'International unions have warned that the democratic contract with voters is broken in many countries after the ITUC global poll revealed alarming trends with 67 per cent of people thinking voters don't have enough influence on economic decisions.
'Governments must pay heed to their people or we risk increasing political and economic instability. Banks and large corporations hold too much sway over national economies. A financial transactions tax is a good way for international banks to put something back into the global economy.'
Richard Trumka, President of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organisations (AFL-CIO), said: 'Now is the time for Wall Street to pay its fair share with a financial transactions tax that would create jobs, rein in speculation, raise hundreds of billions in new revenues and lay the groundwork for long-term economic prosperity.'
NOTES TO EDITORS:
- Unions will be handing over the polling in meetings with world leaders at the G20 including David Cameron, Julia Gillard (Australia), Angela Merkel (Germany), Cristina Kirchner (Argentina), Yoshihiko Noda (Japan) as well as Christine Lagarde (IMF) and Angel Gurria (OECD).
- The poll was carried out by global market research company TNS of the public in 13 countries including 10 G20 economies between 10 April and 6 May 2012: Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, South Africa, the UK and the USA (as well as Belgium, Bulgaria and Greece which are not G20 nations.)
- For more information and interviews with union leaders in Los Cabos contact Gemma Swart [email protected] +32 479 06 41 63
- All TUC press releases can be found at www.tuc.org.uk
- Follow the TUC on Twitter: @tucnews
- Congress 2012 will be held at the Brighton Centre from Sunday 9 September to Wednesday 12 September. Free media passes can be obtained by visiting www.tuc.org.uk/mediacredentials and completing an online form. Applications must be in by noon on Wednesday 29 August. Any received later than that will be processed in Brighton and will cost £50. Please note that the Brighton Centre requires 60 days' notice for telephone line facilities. Details are available on the link above.