A controversial European tax proposed for financial transactions has been welcomed by churches and anti-poverty campaigners.
Announced by European Commission President Manuel Barroso, the Financial Transaction Tax, or Robin Hood Tax, would levy tiny charges on trades in shares and bonds of 0.1 percent and on derivatives of 0.01 percent.
The number of such transactions is so huge, however, that it could generate revenues of about $74 billion a year.
Britain opposes the tax unless it can be levied globally; the United States has said it will block such a move.
Members of the Faith Group of the Robin Hood Tax campaign welcomed Barroso’s announcement.
“This is a hugely exciting development, and the European Commission is to be congratulated for taking this initiative,” said Rev. Jonathan Edwards, general secretary of the Baptist Union of Great Britain.
“We have watched the growing support for a financial transactions tax across Europe over the last few months and it is superb that the commission has got behind the proposal. The potential for releasing large sums of money for good causes, especially in the present financial climate, is incredibly exciting.
“At the Conservative Party Conference, the Free Church delegation of which I will be a part will take the opportunity to encourage the government to get behind this initiative. It would be tragic if we were left behind.”
“The financial sector bears a huge responsibility for the current economic crisis and must make a fair contribution to help finance the massive deficits in EU member states,” said Rev. Roberta Rominger, general secretary of the United Reformed Church.
“There is a moral imperative to use the Robin Hood Tax to fill the gap in urgently needed funding to tackle climate change and poverty at home and abroad.”