How it works | The Robin Hood Tax

The Robin Hood Tax is a tiny tax on banks, hedge funds and other finance institutions  that would raise billions to tackle poverty and climate change, at home and abroad.


It can start as low as 0.005 per cent – and average 0.05 per cent . But when levied on the billions of pounds sloshing round the global finance system every day through transactions such as foreign exchange, derivatives trading and share deals, it can raise hundreds of billions of pounds every year.

And while international agreement is best, it can start right now, right here in the UK.

That can help stop cuts in crucial public services in the UK, and aid the fight against global poverty and climate change.

Why now?

Because of the financial crisis, frontline services at home – like the NHS and our schools – are under fire.

At the same time, poor communities and the environment are being hit hard – as aid and green budgets are slashed by rich countries.

So it’s time for the people who caused this mess to pay to clean it up.

Who’s in?

Gordon Brown, Angela Merkel (the German Chancellor) and Nicolas Sarkozy (the French President) have all spoken out in support of a tax on financial transactions.

Plenty of business bigwigs are on-board too. Lord Turner (from the Financial Services Authority), George Soros (the philanthropist) and Warren Buffet (US businessman extraordinaire) have all backed transaction taxes. And then there are the hundreds of economists who have backed the idea, too.

This isn’t some crazy pipedream. It’s a simple and brilliant idea which transcends party politics and which – with your support – can become a reality.

Follow the links on the left for more information, there’s lot more detail in our FAQ or you can read the academic research in our bibliography.

  • MoneyPrinter
    Monetary Reform to be Debated on Wednesday 15th in the House of Commons!

    Now don’t be put off by the reform being suggested by Tories or the issue of property rights, as of course all of us have economic property via our savings and pensions. And as well as many others have said, add nausea, pension funds …are the majority owners of the global means of production and exchange. This Wednesday, Douglas Carlson MP (Conservative, Clacton) will introduce legislation into the UK parliament that takes the first step towards ending fractional reserve banking.

    As Steve Baker MP describes: ‘Douglas’s Bill would assert property rights over demand deposits. Real savings – term deposits – would be loaned to entrepreneurs, delivering an economy built on save and invest.’ Steve Baker MP explains this in further detail here:

    “On Wednesday, immediately after Prime Minister’s Questions, Douglas Carswell MP will be introducing a moderate and conservative ten-minute rule bill which would introduce sound property rights and contract to monetary deposits. It is potentially of profound importance and I am delighted to support him”. This legislation would have the effect of making fractional reserve banking impossible, requiring a shift to full-reserve banking (where the bank either lends your money, or keeps it safe, but doesn’t claim to do both at the same time!).

    In plain English, it would stop private banks being able to create money as debt. Then governments can issue thier own money without debt to accelerate humanity to another economic era, one that tackles global poverty sustainably….a tax on banks will still leave them creating economic chaos.

  • c a p N
    when the needy aint led by the greedy and we do things on a want to and choose to baisis,UNTILL THEN MONNEY KILLS!the ones that want to aspire to the millionair club,are the mentaly ill,must be,killing kids and life jst for what,GREED!NOT THE FLAG OV THE TRUE TO LIFE PERSON.STOP STANDING UP FOR PERSONAL GREEDY WORLDS AND STAND UP FOR THE PERSON.

  • ‘Greedy’Trader
    This is a very silly idea. I make a market in currencies in an international investment bank (yes, I am an evil trader). On average a bank will make, as it’s profit margin, 0.01% on every deal done, or just $100 on a million dollar trade. That’s not a lot of money. This tax would errode that profit margin completly. The only way which I could afford to keep running my business would be to pass this tax directly on to my clients. My clients include the likes of government bodies, pension funds, international shipping companies, oil companies etc. That kind of defeats the purpose of the tax. This is a tax on commerce, not banking.

  • Ceri87
    1. The consumer would be affected by this as all that would happen is the banks would pass the tax onto the consumers so is relatively pointless.

    2. The worst industry to try and hit with this tax is the finance sector, they of all the workforces in britain have the best understanding of how to get around taxes, they will invent ways as they always do.

    3. On every single financial transaction, this would surely reduce the liquidity of money as companies will want to make batch transactions

    4. It is quite clever that this idea is suggested now whilst the finance sector is so unpopular, no one mentions taxes for other fields that are overpaid for their services, e.g footballers are an easy example but they are not unpopular so it would be difficult to get anything imposed on them

    5. If the U.K alone did this tax, the banks would move their business elsewhere in Europe in the same way a footballer would. The economy would loose out and we would end up having to pay more taxes or suffer a lower standard of living to cover the shortfall as those investment bankers wouldnt be paying 50% of their income in taxes.

    6. The finance sector is what is keeping the UK on the map, if this moves elsewhere our economy is screwed we do not have the empire anymore so larger nations would eventually overtake us

    6. I would be wary of where the money is going there isnt one set objective, maybe if it were solely to tackle issues in the UK first I.E we aim to rely on 100% renewable energy, at least this would create more jobs in the UK as well.

    It’s a nice idea and would help millions overseas but I think there are too many downsides to the UK of this particular proposal, It’s impossible to penalise one sector because other people are jealous of how much theyre earning, these guys are working in a horrible/stressful sector that without financial compensation much fewer people would be working in it. I personally choose not to go down the London/finance route as I want a more relaxing life.
    For this to be done you would need a similar charge across all industrys why should the finance industry be hit when other industrys make big money easily, gambling industry for instance, all countries would have to join the scheme, and I think it would be better coming directly as a tax to citizens rather than companies to avoid the problem of businesses moving elsewhere…although It wouldnt be nearly as popular if it was affecting everyone!

  • Youwish
    My comments keep getting removed Robin hood Tax you are a con:

    How about you ask the government openly on national Tv about Accepted for Value and lets see what they have to say about that.

    also look for Mary Elizabeth Crofts free e-book How I Clobbered Ever Cash Confiscating Beaurocracy known to man

    this should explain the truth about your slavery……

  • jupiter30066
    The general problem of Robin Hood Tax is the bank may be tempting to charge for customer’s transaction, increase the amount charged for overdraft, raise interest rate for credit card and mortgages, decrease the amount of credit available and other new fees to make up for the tax. The end results are more damaging to small businesses and the poor.

  • Joseph Mee
    It’s a great idea, but isn’t it likely that any losses incurred by financial institutions through implementation of the tax would then ultimately be passed onto the banks’ customers in the form of cynical interest hikes and increases bank charges?

  • Piskeydoll
    sounds quite sensible.

  • Curtis
    I think the Robinhood Tax would be great! It would help counter the unfairness that the middle class has to endure by pumping money back into our social infrastructure.

    I mean let’s face it: we do not live in a fair society. The moment this really became clear to me was when I learned how one of the 100 richest people in the world made his fortune. He buys medium-sized companies with his investment company, liquidates all the company’s assets he can by reducing worker pay, eliminating benefits, selling equipment, etc. and pocketing the money. He then goes on to sell the skeleton of a company that he has sucked dry, and moves on. Meanwhile, the people who worked hard to build the company up are left with next to nothing.

    I really wish that everyone was just as poor, or as rich, as they deserved to be, based on their contributions to the economy. That’s what we call fair, and it’s even the supposed aim of a capitalist system. Now tell me; does the work of CEO’s of big financial institutions like investment banks really contribute 1000 times more than the hard work of the average citizen? It doesn’t. Yet somehow, they get 30 million dollar salaries, while most people on the planet work for around 25-40 thousand a year.

    The reality is that most of us middle-class workers contribute to the economy through production of goods and services. Meanwhile, the people at the top with the right connections reap the rewards through unfair, yet somehow legal, means.

  • Nottelling
    Yeah so what exactly can we do to make this tax happen ?

    Oh and why not enact reprisals against the low proffessions?

  • Sha45pc
    Concerned that George Soros is backing this. RED FLAG when this dude supports something!! On the surface this sounds good but lets drill down to the basics!

  • Mao
    Great idea, but people don’t waste the money ‘fighting climate change’.

  • zaidfayyad
    honestly, i don’t understand why the wealthier the person is the more he/she has to give back to society.
    bankers are NOT thieves.
    i am an avid supporter of bankers and executives in the finance industry, despite the fact i’m a doctor.
    if someone finds a way to make a billion pounds, why should he/she not enjoy every last bit of it????

    ITS ALL LEGAL, everyone should simply, cut bankers some slack.

  • gman
    Do you remember when the same bankers you support effectively gambled the economy away and the taxpayer had to bail them out? The same act that has contributed to the entire country having to make cuts? I think that was more than enough slack don’t you?

    Theres nothing wrong with making billions of pounds…. legitemately. What you’ll find is that for the past few decades bankers have been using smoke and mirrors to manipulate money into their hands. It wasn’t legitamate and some bankers are lucky we havn’t chosen to take that rope of which so much slack has already been given and hanging the bastards with it.

  • I agree with your point of view, but then, what do we do when some bankers are given millions in bonuses even though their bank had to get millions-worth in government bailout?
    Also, this tax will help with the spending cuts that have taken place, such as on the NHS.
    And frankly, if you want money, you wouldn’t tax the people with the least money…

  • TAX are really important!

  • Lee
    A simple question which I doubt will be easy to answer. I think the Robin Hood tax sounds like a great idea and the Bill Nigh vid is great but my question is this; If it is such a good idea why are we still talking about it?? I won’t pretend to know alot about politics (anymore) but there must be one hell of a big catch somewhere or surely we’d be doing it already? Or maybe I just don’t know enough about it.

  • Luke

    Even a tiny percentage tax will be a considerable hit to a bank’s profit when you consider just how many transactions take place per day/week/month. Sadly our current government is far from socialist and will continue to try and make life easier for the wealthy as long as they’re in power.

  • Tess
    If bankers were to suffer from this hit, which would be a huge loss to them, they will get the money from somewhere else, and guess where. From us, from everyone, for example from families who can’t afford it. They will make it so it is harder to give out loans, because they wont have as much money, which is what has been a major hit to the recession. Has no one thought of this? Banks will not sit back and lose much of their profits without taking it out places elsewhere in there business.

  • Lee
    I knew there had to be a catch, I bloody knew it. It had to be other wise they’d have done it already.

  • Wizard
    The banks won’t suffer, the tax isn’t big enough to make a huge loss per bank, How ever, its the innate greed that stops it, if out of 30mil they share 0.05% its relatively small, Banks will how ever simply use it as an excuse to charge more or give less, increasing profits even more, the problem is take take take, without giving back. what is the difference between a salary of 30mil or 29mil, either way you have enough to retire for the rest of your live, so way not make sure the public can have a good education and improve their chances of a better future for the nation (the WHOLE nation).

  • David Dunn
    Tobin tax should be part of a larger tax reform system which should abolish all present taxes and replace with a Natural Resource Tax.
    This would tax all natural resources at source at a rate dependanat on its environmental impact and at a level that governments require to finace its requirements.

    These taxes together, would replace all existing taxes and being easier to raise and collect would save billions in Fraud and collection.

  • Make it global!!!

  • Tonguetiedyou
    Two things need to be avoided if this is to work. It needs to be global, as if UK goes first nobody will trade through the country when they can go elsewhere and not be taxed.
    Second, there needs to be a built in rule that the bankers cannot pass the tax on in another form to us the paying customer…which is what they always do. The real danger here is that WE the people end up paying this and the bankers carry on regardless.

  • RJC
    I 100% agree with the tax and it would be a huge -if not conclusive- step forward in reducing the deficit. However, it seems to me that capitalism is the at the heart of the matter and so the Robin Hood tax should be just a step towards dismantling the current capitalist consensus. If the financial markets and big businesses were in public hands, they would be accountable and their profits would be shared more evenly and paid back into society.

  • This is an interesting idea, to levy a small charge or tax on all financial transactions running through banks internal dealings, but there will be huge opposition and lobbying against it by the banks (naturally) – but it can only be successful if the implementation is done fairly, in proportion and on a global scale (realistically – on a majority of developed nations across Europe and the U.S.).

    If you observe the state of our economy and the feeling among people, or study the habits and shopping trends ( of consumers, we can see that people have had to tighten their belts in these trying times more so than before.. it was through tax payer money to bail out the banking and financial sectors, but now the banks should not treat those same people indifferently as though they were just doing business, as they do owe a debt to the people of Britain.

  • Nic_nic_nicole
    I support the tax 100%. TELL YOUR FRIENDS

  • William Shepherd

    At present there is a lot of populist talk going around about a Robin Hood Tax with four punters in every constituency being asked to put up £2 apiece for placing adverts in London’s Westminster Tube station.

    The idea is to shame MPs into taxing bank transactions and diverting the 10, 20, 50 or 100 billion pounds raised by this means to such fiscal delights as:

    – balancing the public sector budget
    – paying off the national debt
    – cleaning up the mess created by the crash of the financial system by giving banks money to write off the loans to the rich.
    – passing money on to Her Majesty’s Treasury so that the taxes levied on everything that ordinary lower and middle class folks spend their hard-earned wages and pensions on (like VAT) do not go up.

    This is the economics of the madhouse as proposed by economic illiterates.

    The traditional way of dealing with a society’s debt and usury problem of this magnitude…and they occur every few hundred years in every civilisation…is as relevant in the 21st century as it has been throughout several thousands of years of recorded history, namely:

    (1) a Clean Slate to drain the swamp of debt.
    (2) a Usury Law to keep the swamp drained.

    The last time this was done properly in England was in 1571. So a good place to start is by reading what Professor R.H. Tawney had to say about the Elizabethans’ approach as enacted by the Usury Law of 1571.

    This enlightened law included such wondrous devices as:

    (a) the right for any person to effect a citizens arrest of usurers.
    (b) court imposed punitive fines of three times the damage inflicted on real persons by illegal usurious practices.

    The real task of any would-be modern-day Robin Hood is to shut down the casinos, masquerading as exchanges, and to bring usury under the control of the citizens and burgers of Nottingham. Some might also recommend stringing up a few usurers in Sherwood Forest although in our enlightened times Reconciliation Tribunals might be more humane.

    The cause of fairness and social justice will be best served, not by banning interest rates (this was spin put out by the international financiers), but by seeing that banking is usury free, which automatically eliminates 80% of all financial transactions and that Clause Four of the Labour Party Constitution is reinstated at least as far as public control of the means of exchange is concerned…to which some would add the means of issue.

    Further reading:

    The Compromise of 1571 by Professor R.H.Tawney at:

  • Chris
    I don’t think this is a good idea. The money isn’t guaranteed to go anywhere we want it to and it could lead to Britain’s strength on the economical scale plummeting. Sure, it’s only a tiny percentage but it will stack up, and we don’t know where it’s going to go. A tax on foreign transaction would ultimately lead to increased bank charges and not really benefit anything, it would just further complicate an already swamped tax system.

  • Sgaff
    Banks do pay tax on profits, they are talking about adding a second tax. The real issue is who holds the proceeds, who decides where it goes, and in the end who really end up paying for it. Why just tax the banks? Why have they been singled out? Their issues/profits/greed are completely unrelated to global poverty and climate change, but because of the global crisis they are an easy target. How about rather than tax the banks, politicians get serious about climate change and ending poverty? Why not put pressure on foreign governments to either change their criminal ways or have aid stopped altogether? Many of the countries we support today with billions in aid are so corrupt they take most of the funds anyway. Another tax will just increase their share and not really do anything to end poverty. And taking more of the banks profits to address climate change?? Get some climate change regulations in place with teeth. Try that first, then take from the capital markets…seriously.

    And the subject of taxing financial institutions to build up an insurance fund will not stop them from taking reckless actions, in fact it may further encourage it because they know they will be bailed out. How about better oversight and regulatory reform? Make some intelligent decisions, not reacting in fear and anger.

  • emmy
    Of course the issues/profits/greed of banks are related to climate change – where do you think all of the funding comes from to continue dirty fossil fuel projects? And obviously the richer some get, the poorer others will get, on a planet with finite resources. So bankers’ greed is absolutely related to global poverty too!

  • Suzy Boyce
    Oh for heaven’s sake, it’s a tax on transactions, not profit. And yes, some third world countries are run by corrupt leaders, but the banks are providing loans to these countries, knowing that the leaders will misappropriate them, because they also know that whatever happened to the money they loaned, the poor people in the country will have to find a way to pay it back. You only have to look at the approximately $6 million misappropriated by Mobutu of Zaire and the problems the people he used to lead now face. And while this tax should be universal and not related to only one country, that’s how poverty and climate change has to work too. There are no unilateral solutions to these problems and perhaps the global banking and money-speculation/exchange industry is the best way of doing this. The Robin Hood tax has been mooted since I was in university, so it’s by no means a knee-jerk reaction to the current financial crisis, but it’s a well thought-out solution to global problems. And alternatives are pretty thin on the ground…

  • According to the Bank for International Settlements, average daily turnover in global foreign exchange markets is estimated at USD3.98 trillion, as of April 2007.

    According to the World Factbook, the world’s GDP at official exchange rate was estimated in 2009 to USD58.07 trillion.

    A Tobin transaction tax at 0.25% on foreign exchange alone would generate every single day USD9.95 billion or an annual of 6,25% in additional taxes.

    It’s obvious that, in taxing foreign exchange transaction at only 0.25%, all countries could reduce the income taxes of their citizen by 6.25% of total GDP which would have an incredible growth impact and eliminate hunger on the planet.

  • Av
    you are a fool. growth does not eliminate hunger

  • HopefulPessimist
    You are too judgemental. Growth may not eliminate hunger but perhaps we should place emphasis on that it should eliminate hunger and poverty

  • Darlene
    It is a brilliant idea, and to quote a famous person “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.” Who better than from those with the ability (and I use that loosely) the financial institutions that got greedy and caused all this mess, to those worthy causes like the poor, environment and education.

  • RoBiN BaNkS
    I work in an investment bank, n deal with these trasactions day in day out, i think its an excellent idea and support it 100%, and for the people who disagree, its the idea which is what matters, i can see a lot of work needs to be done, but i am prepared to help as much as i can!

  • 123
    you are a complete liar

  • robin banks
    and you are a complete muppet 🙂

  • Lester Kang – Singapore
    Kukos to the effort….but don’t think will work mate….!

    To fight such causes, it must be sincerely given from the heart and not through robbing (taxing) people.

  • RoBiN BaNkS
    Lester, this tax will fall on mainly financial institutions, yes we may have money invested through them, but what about the people who havent even got the money to open a bank account…

  • derrfe
    Lets be frank
    if you invest `your money could be taxed many times over .
    if you changed investments just three times a year , that is a average tax of 0.15% on capital which sounds reasonable , if your money is involved in an active fund , your assets might buy and sell 20 times in that day , on average your money will give in taxes 3.65 times what your original investment was.
    Fair taxes are alright , untill they become unfair , paying more in taxes than i own is unfair taxation and this is why i oppose the motion.

  • RoBiN BaNkS
    correct me if im worng mate, but the tax is 0.005% and not 0.05%!

  • maria
    only one think. Do you think really the bankers will not charge it on us later??, I mean, they can put an extra tax for keep their benefits as the same level, and as you said is a very little tax so population probably even noticed, it’s necessary the banks won’t be able to revert this tax on us, as they always do!

  • Wilberforce
    Walkerjian referred to banks that “grind out trillions via totally unnecessary transactions”

    How do they do that please?

  • Wilberforce
    Shyamal wrote “the bank doesn’t pay the tax, the public does”

    This is the case with all taxes. Ultimately the public always pays.

  • Wilberforce
    “Shareholders dont own banks.”

    Anyone who can start their post like this instantly is not really demonstrating a agrasp of the facts.

  • caseycali1
    Aren’t the banks just going to pass that tax down by raises cost to consumers to hold and make transactions with their money??? How would this be prevented, free checking/savings is almost already unheard of….

  • I Object
    Do not blame the victims in the case of the poor, or you show an inordinate ignorance. I have been rich and have become poor as a result of a ponzi scheme. My broker got his commission, I got nothing. When I see the salaries and bonus’ that some of these rich CEOs, Presidents and Boards make on the backs of decreased shareholders dividends, it is a indicative of all that is wrong with capitalism. Capitalists can’t regulate/manage themselves or their greed (as evidenced in America) so someone has to do it for them, namely the government. Personally I do my part by no longer buying any stock in any public companies, and especially those who are “multinationals” as they are morally the worst of all.

  • 4responsibiltity
    Redistributing wealth from wealthy corporations, whether the hated banking industry, or some other target, is the way to get ordinary folks on board for socialistic, eventually communistic, agendas. Everyone likes to see wealth redistributed from the evil big (“rich”) corporations to the poor, but we overlook some primary fallacies: the poor are poor for a reason (no blame, it’s just a fact), and there will always be poverty. The existence of poverty is not a justification for lack of compassion for those in need. They need our help, but not through force of redistribution of wealth. It’s the logical next step that the average middle class citizen should have more taken away because they still have more than the “poor”. There will always be more redistribution, folks. This is just a start to get you on board with the whole idea, by finding a target we can all hate, and go “yeah, take money from the big evil banks, so I can have more”. Do you see the craziness in this?

    If the poor could be not-poor with redistribution, why do lottery winners often end up worse after a huge windfall than they were before they ever got rich? It takes more to make one who has only known poverty not-poor. It takes education and support, not just transfer of money from the rich. Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for life. Let’s teach the poor, not just redistribute wealth like it’s Christmas and this is Santa Clause making all the poor’s dreams come true. It’s unrealistic in the long run, folks. And it takes away every incentive for the middle class entrepreneur to continue working. We’re getting sucked in with an obviously hated target, but the next step is taking from your middle class neighbor and self-employed person in the community who can barely keep his head above water with all the taxes and business disincentives to continue working. Wake up, America and UK. There is no free ride, including this hair-brained, albeit popular, scheme. If you are poor, get the training to be able to support yourself. There are plenty of government programs to help, in the US and the UK. Get off your butts, and stop looking to someone else to support you. Please. It’s the only way to reverse this madness our government is propagating. This is another scheme to create separation between the haves and the have-nots, and grow the entitlement mentality, so that those who are poor can revel in their victimhood with no responsibility for having created their situations.

  • Curtis
    We do not live in a fair society. The moment this really became clear to me was when I learned how one of the 100 richest people in the world made his fortune. He buys medium-sized companies with his investment company, liquidates all the company’s assets he can by reducing worker pay, eliminating benefits, selling equipment, etc. and pocketing the money. He then goes on to sell the skeleton of a company that he has sucked dry, and moves on. Meanwhile, the people who worked hard to build the company up are left with next to nothing.

    I really wish that everyone was just as poor, or as rich, as they deserved to be, based on their contributions to the economy. That’s what we call fair, and it’s even the supposed aim of a capitalist system. Now tell me; does the work of CEO’s of big financial institutions like investment banks really contribute 1000 times more than the hard work of the average citizen? It doesn’t. Yet somehow, they get 30 million dollar salaries, while most people on the planet work for around 25-40 thousand a year.

    The reality is that most of us middle-class workers contribute to the economy through production of goods and services. Meanwhile, the people at the top with the right connections reap the rewards through unfair, yet somehow legal, means.

  • Suzy Boyce
    Hmmm. Suggest you take yourself off to the favelas of Brazil or take a look at the films of the refugee camps of Ethiopia back in the 80s and then reassess your opinion of why people are poor. No amount of training programmes will help, and a lot of countries are poor because that’s how capitalism has to work – in order for there to be profits, there has to be someone to exploit, and someone to keep poor. I don’t suppose you’ve had any thought about why you’re not among the ‘have-nots’, but my guess is that it’s far more likely to be where you’re born and who you’re born to and your environment than any personal attributes. I’ve met superb entrepreneurs in the third world, who are being helped to spread their new ideas through help from charities. And I met people in camps in Ethiopia who had lost all of their children and were by no means ‘reveling’ in their victimhood. So frankly, if you don’t take the time to find out what poverty really means to the people of the third world then you shouldn’t voice your opinion based on what you perceive as self-induced poverty in the first world.

  • Jono Shavelar
    You do realise that one of the biggest aims of the tax is to help 3rd world countries?
    Please explain to me the reason that these people are born into poverty, and what governmental training programs there are for them.
    You’re point about teaching people, and building up skills is a logical one, and doesn’t actually serve as an argument against this robin hood tax, merely a suggestion for how the money should be used.
    As for your slippery slope arguments about eventually communistic agendas is simply hilarious.

  • Ed Fisher
    I think 4responsibility is American, and therefore not only raised with the feeling that capitalism is a good way of working, but also deeply suspicious of communism and socialism. In Britain we are A Socialist State, a fact which is often spoken in dark tones over the pond. I didn’t know I was in A Socialist State until an American pointed it out. I think it just means we have a national health system that works. 😉 Remember the rage when Obama had the heretic idea of a tax-funded healthcare system? Anyway, that’s not the point, is it? I digress.
    The IDEA is a good one, so I vote yes. The devil may well prove to be in the detail.

  • Tom Fitzgerald
    Can someone help me?
    – I am trying to work out if this “Robin Hood Tax” is going to be a good thing or a bad thing?
    – Who will it help?
    – Who will be losing more money? Me or the banks?

  • Robert Leslie Fielding
    This sounds a great idea, on the face of it. I still think that whoever is charged these billions will resist and do anything they can to avoid paying it. I do think it is a great idea, but 0.005% is more than 0.000% and so would be resisted.

    Many thanks


  • Ecolinda
    Can I talk about the You Tube items on the Robin Hood Tax?

    The Bankers one was excellent. It spelled out exactly what the Robin Hood tax was, how much it would cost, what it would do. The Hoodies one was very interesting and good at the end, though connecting the Robin Hood Tax with hoodies and robbery might not have been the best idea – some of the people you want voting for it will be of the age group who would be nervous of hoodies. But the Leaders…what was that about…

    If you are going to use these three clips, then for goodness sake print them Bankers, Hoodies then Leaders from left to right across the page, so if someone a little older than 20 actually looks at your site they won’t check out the worse one first.

  • Patricia Smith
    Nice to see the good old “it’ll never work, let’s just sit here and complain” brigade are in full voice. Don’t worry, Robin, some of us are here because we are on your side!

  • edrsenior
    I’m frustrated by the misguided agenda at play here. RHT’s proponents want two outcomes – act punitively against banks for “gambling”, and solve “poverty/climate change”, but RHT wont solve either:

    Gambling: Society can better address “gambling banks” through regulating market participants’ activity, or at least, ring fencing the highest risk. A warning though – that “gambling” (or what we call investing) is what drives your retirement plans. Higher taxes on activity alone will be passed down at cost. It won’t remove the incentive to risk capital for reward.

    Poverty: If society chooses to allocate more of its income to pass down to those who have less, that’s fine. Lets call it what it is, higher taxes for a social outcome, and put it to popular opinion. Unfortunately though, Poverty is part of the human condition, and society has always resisted higher redistributive tax systems – just like we avoid cutting our personal carbon footprints.

    Banks are an easy target right now, but their profits are already heavily taxed (30% of net profits from finance globally, plus 50% of bankers income goes into government coffers as tax, the balance goes to your investment savings). The rest gets spent across the economy.

  • Keith
    “Banks are an easy target right now, but their profits are already heavily taxed (30% of net profits from finance globally, plus 50% of bankers income goes into government coffers as tax, the balance goes to your investment savings). The rest gets spent across the economy” edrsenior

    What a load of bullshit – How anyone can defend banks obviously doesn’t know how banking works. Its a system of debt design to enslave consumers. A pyramid scheme with ordinary people at the bottom. If you dont believe me then research it. As long as the banking system is in place, its only right that taxes are highest on banks as tax exists to pay back the debt that they create.

  • Shyamal
    Your argument begins with a profound lack of understanding of both the financial world and the environment which is what you are ultimately trying to protect here so the complaints are fully validated…

  • edrsenior
    Nice ad campaign, ridiculous idea.

    Banks need to repay the bailout capital (which they will, and governments will profit from this) but taxing bank transactions is just like charging you, a bank customer an extra pound each time you cash a cheque.

    1. Banks already pay trillions of dollars of tax globally
    2. Bankers salaries are taxed like everyone elses – infact income tax paid on bankers salaries would easily be greater than that paid by any other professional group in the country
    3. Levvy taxes on profits (ie, economically relevant numbers) not transaction volumes, which are mostly nominal anyway.
    4. You, by the way, own banks. Shareholders = your pension funds = your retirement savings. What we make, you own.

    If you want to raise money to seriously address climate change, raise taxes on air travel, raise petrol prices by 50%, treble the congestion charge systems, charge higher taxes for people who don’t insulate their homes, give tax breaks to businesses operating sustainably, make cap-and-trade markets viable and set a punitive price for carbon in the global economy.

  • walkerjian
    Banks are just unnecessary friction interspersed between consumer and producer – an old idea getting older very rapidly. Of course the fact that they grind out trillions via totally unnecessary transactions and that these trillions keep entire ecosystems of parasites lolling phat in the spoils means that they (the bankers and the banks) will not give up without a fight. So, sigh, blood will have to run… will it not? After all blood is the one true currency in the one true free market.
    Perhaps an RHT is a more prudent option for dudes who are just narrowly dodging being (literally) skinned alive, hmmmm?

  • Keith
    Shareholders dont own banks. Shareholders are investors in banks. And 99% of the shareholders invest a tiny amount of capital compared to that of the owners of the banks [Rockafella’s, Morgan’s, Rothschild’s etc.] Dont fool yourself.

  • edrsenior
    Keith – I’d be interested in hearing how much of the banks you think are owned by the Morgans and Rockefellers.

  • Robert Leslie Fielding
    Now you’re talking. Taxes that promote sensible use of resources and encourage prudence where the environment is concerned get my vote every time.

    Unfortunately, most people would protest at some of th measures you suggest, and so, far from looking like Robin Hood, you would come across as the Sheriff of Nottinghasm.

  • hippyideasneverwork
    The reason people would resist such ideas is because the money come directly out of their pockets, instead of your idea where it comes out of our pockets via the bank and financial industries. There is no quick fix, brilliant ideas, certainly no one fix Robin Hood tax, great idea, but back in reality it wont, cant and will not work, the added cost/tax to the bank will just filter back down to the tax payer. Unfortunatly the only way is to be rich or be taxed.

  • mhlewis

    Your comment illustrates the problem of this campaign conflating the issues of climate change and poverty. Edrsenior chooses to focus only on climate change , while Jaqueline Calder (below) focuses, rightly I think, on poverty. As regards the tax filtering down to bank customers, the tax needs to be used alongside a split between retail banks and casino banks. Let’s tax casino banking — it’s a great idea! So what if it results in fewer crazy speculative deals . . . that is no bad thing.

  • steve
    this will probably cause banks and so forth to increase their fees to increase their profit margins… its not the bank that wants the money, its the people behind it

  • I think this is bad idea. While I would like to slow down the trillions in “hot money” (and see it placed in long-term investments), the economy has come to depend on it. This idea just creates friction from transcation costs. It’s like telling everyone to drive with under inflated tires because we have few speeders. Try a speed bump, fine them, or arrest them instead. Let honest business go on.

  • Mason
    It is a direct tax! And taxes always have unforeseen consequences.

    Governments aren’t smart enough to know how to fight world poverty (or it wouldn’t exist, they only cause the rich to get richer and the poor to get poorer). “Climate change” means nothing and cant be helped nor stopped with money – its a political issue. Perhaps thats why there are just as many scientists who discredit it?

    Theres a saying for people that believe in freedom – if George Soros thinks its a good idea, ITS NOT.

  • Pat
    No where near as many scientists disagree with man made climate change. It is just the weight of the media behind the ney sayers that gives the perseption of even approximate parity. Even if you believe its not man made you must understand the need for adaptation to rising temperatures, seal levels etc?

  • edrsenior
    Pat, I think you’ll find that Mason means that “Climate change” is as amorphous a phrase as “fighting poverty” or “the war on terror”. It sounds great, but is a hugely complex issue with roots in our own society and the way we choose to live our lives (ditto “poverty”, by the way).

    You can’t fix climate change by just cutting a cheque. Using it to justify an ill conceived tax is as intellectually dishonest as “a tax on banks to save puppies” would be – i’m sure that would be equally popular, too.

  • steve hancock
    GREAT a small tax (even as high as .5%) on transactions would raise lots of cash. But more importantly it would end much useless speculation and arbitrage, these create nothing of value. The tax would contribute to the stability of markets.

    This is one of those golden opportunities that a TAX directly provides more BENEFIT than the cost of the tax.

  • Shyamal
    This would never be put into practice/work:

    The general public would only support this because they will think that it doesn’t affect them as you stated on your website, but it will as their money is in… banks. So a tax on a bank will result in the bank reducing its interest rates in order to maintain its profit margin and therefore mean less interest for the account holder.

    So essentially, the bank doesn’t pay the tax, the public does- this is therefore just another ordinary tax and you are all wasting your time…

  • jacqueline calder
    it is such a shame that you keep linking the dubious threat of climate change with very real problems such as poverty and hunger. I want to help support good initiatives towards eradicating poverty, hunger and real threats such as malaria. i do not want to support the growing hysteria about climate change that has become a form of “green evangelism”. Please note, I am an informed and committed environmentalist.

  • ac1963
    I found this site by chance. Can it not be more publicised so people can become more informed and have their say on it and maybe one of the Goverment partys will listen.

    The one thing I have noticed in this general election campaign is that nearly all the politicians don’t seem to acknolwedge who actually caused this global recession in the first place, but expect us to be the ones prepared to suffer the consequences.

    Banks need to become more accountable to goverment and take responsibility for their gambling actions.

    It seems as if the banks are acting like the spoilt kid who will take his football home if he doesn’t get his way.

    This campaign needs to be more high profile to allow us the general public to become more informed about this idea.

    How much would a TV ad cost or a newspaper ad? We could all donate something to help get this messsage more out there.

  • Andy Potter
    I have read of the comments below and have noticed that most opposition to this is that any increased tax on banking transactions would eventually reciprocate back to the general public. This is true but actually there may be a solution:

    This is could be avoided if the decifit this tax creates were deducted from the bankers commission or bonus scheme therefore leaving the banks profits uneffected.

    Say for example 10% of a transactions profits is put into a bonus pot, an increase of 0.05% tax would equate to a 0.5% deduction in this commission or bonus.

    Any tax on the entire value of any transaction is unfeasible as this could be the difference between a transaction being profitable or not. Any potentially profitable transaction that does not take place because of this tax will stagnate the economy and ultimately make less money available to the general public. This is could be a real problem as although the profits might seem huge they are infact a very small percent in relation to the actual size of the transaction.

    A tax on any bank is a worry for governments as large financial institutions have historically moved to tax exempt countries to maximise their profits. This is exactly the same reason why banks are unlikely to pass this tax onto the top commission earners in the fear they will leave for another bank. This is further evidence that there needs to be international agreement not only between governments but also between banks.

    If there is not 100% agreement this will not work. Unfortunately the banking industry is founded on competition and is not famed for philanphropy.

    I entirely support this idea in principle but for this to work I think you need to clearly define at which stage of any transaction this tax would be applicable. i.e. on bonuses not banking profits, thus avoiding the banks passing this back to us.

    I don’t think this is unreasonable to bankers. What’s the difference between a 30 million pound bonus and 29.85 million?

    As many have also stated below by far the simplest solution is to manage our own finances responsibly and make as many contributions to worthy causes as we can afford as individuals.

  • Claire_RHT
    Mark, it’s really refreshing to hear from someone within the banking sector on this. If only the sector was as full of people with bigger picture perspectives like yours as it is with financial transactions!

  • mark palmer
    The concept of this tax is completely justifiable, as a banker (specifically within the Foreign Exchange markets) I can see the sums of money that it could raise and also the viability of it being taxed at source (i.e by the state)

    The question of it being forcibly imposed, shouldn’t be a question, it should happen. Banks didn’t ask permission before bringing about a credit crunch (which by the way, everyone could see coming a mile off) and they shouldn’t be ‘asked to put their hands in their pockets, they should be told. We shouldn’t ask for voluntary contributions, that will eventually be so detailed and work in their favour as a tax write off. WE should tax at source, much like SDRT through the CREST clearing system for shares.
    I can understand peoples scepticism concerning the change, but the reality is that the change will not affect bankers pockets by a noticeable amount and the change WILL affect millions of lives for the better. CASE CLOSED NOW PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, WILL WHOEVER WINS THE ELECTION JUST GET ON AND MAKE IT HAPPEN

  • DaveM
    I can’t help wondering whether this idea is basically about

    1. a structured way of helping “good causes” – whatever they are,

    2. or helping the treasury raise their income – a lot of which is already handed out to charities via Gift Aid,

    3. or is it more likely a feeble attempt to punish, or simply hinder, those who choose to speculate financially with their own, or my, money? – an attempt which they will simply circumnavigate.

  • AlexLibman
    Oh, and by the way – Robin Hood was a tax resister who killed tax collectors and gave people back their money, rich and poor alike. A more appropriate name for your program would be the Hitler and Stalin Tax. They are the true champions of using charitable intentions to gain, maintain, and expand their power – you are merely following in their footsteps.

  • AlexLibman
    All taxation is theft, and uniform global taxation is infinitely more tyrannical because it is immune to intergovernmental competition, making terrorism the only viable route toward freedom. If you want to do good do it through private charity, not government force!

  • kimberlyljones
    It sounds good, and it might work, but shouldn’t “transactions” be clarified? I have bank transactions, what’s to stop them from charging me, via higher monthly fees for any services I use? We are talking BANKS. They don’t give money away and they wouldn’t be in the business if they weren’t making some kind of a profit. Banks want to keep the profit, so they will get it back in some shape or form. Therefore, sticking it, to the same folks they are alledgedly helping.

  • suehenson
    Would it cost almost as much to administrate as the money it would raise?

  • Phil
    Think about the $billions of new money created from nothing through quantitative easing accross the globe in the last 18 months. All that money is interest bearing, interest paid by governments to banks.

    Governments then tax the public to pay that interest. So when governments talk of cutting back on spending to pay interest on the national debt. Remember that the interest is being paid on money that didn’t

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