Stamp duty could raise £3bn for aid

Indira Das-Gupta

The Stamp Out Poverty campaign was launched this week, calling on the Government to introduce a stamp duty on currency transactions that it claims could raise £3bn for international aid.

The campaign, led by the Tobin Tax Network, is supported by a number of charities, including Cafod, Christian Aid, ActionAid and Oxfam.

Economist James Tobin first developed the idea of raising revenue by taxing the trade in sterling 30 years ago. But the Treasury has always claimed such a tax would be unfeasible because it would need the agreement of every country in the world.

David Hillman, head of the Tobin Tax Network and pictured above with Claudia Schiffer and Richard Curtis at the Parliamentary launch of Make Poverty History, said: "We listened to the Government's objections, then went away and sought the advice of financial experts on how to make our arguments more robust."

Campaigners are now pushing for a levy of 0.005 per cent on every currency transaction in sterling, in order to raise the £3bn they want ring-fenced to fight poverty in the developing world.

Hillman added: "We have found a way to introduce this unilaterally, and proved that it is politically feasible. We will be intensifying our dialogue with the Government in the run-up to the G8 summit." The summit is set to be hosted by the UK in July.

The Tobin Tax Network is also a member of the UK Aid Network, which is advising the policy and lobbying group of the Make Poverty History coalition.

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