A majority of the British public is in favour of a tax on financial transactions that would channel funds into not-for-profit organisations, an opinion poll carried out for Oxfam suggests.
The levy, called the ‘Tobin tax' after the economist who originally thought of it, was recently proposed to EU finance ministers by Prime Minister Gordon Brown. If implemented, it could generate more than £400bn for charities worldwide.
Fifty-three per cent of respondents to the YouGov poll of more than 2,000 people were in favour of taxing banks to channel money to poor people hit by the recession; 28 per cent opposed the tax.
"This is a rare example of a popular tax," said Max Lawson, senior policy adviser for Oxfam. "The UK public clearly support action to force banks to clean up their own mess.
"It is not fair to expect poor people in Leeds or Nairobi to pay the price of mistakes made by bankers in London or New York.
"Why should people die for lack of medicines, or children be forced out of school, because of an economic crisis they did nothing to cause?"