MPs back foreign exchange tax

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Debt, Aid & Trade has called on the Government to consider imposing a stamp duty on sterling foreign exchange transactions to raise money for international development.

The idea was originally championed by Stamp Out Poverty, a network of development charities and aid agencies working to alleviate poverty in the world’s poorest countries. According to the network’s latest estimate, a tax of 0.005 per cent on all sterling trades would raise an extra £2.4bn each year to boost the UK’s contribution to the Millennium Development Goals.

The parliamentary group’s decision to endorse the plan follows a detailed inquiry into additional sources of finance for development.

Labour MP Ann McKechin, chair of the group, said that the stamp duty should be “actively considered” by the UK government.

David Hillman, co-ordinator of Stamp Out Poverty co-ordinator, commented: “We will ask the Chancellor to listen to these MPs, and introduce the sterling stamp duty in the next budget.”

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