As an elected member, I often receive a request from residents to support a specific campaign.
The latest of these is for the Robin Hood Tax.
Also known as a Financial Transactions Tax (FTT) or Tobin Tax, a Robin Hood Tax is a tiny tax of about 0.05% on transactions like stocks, bonds, foreign currency and derivatives, which could raise £250 billion a year globally. FTTs are well-tested, cheap to implement and hard to avoid.
Dear Councillor Bull
As a resident of your ward, I am writing to ask you to pass a Council motion in support of the introduction of a Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) – otherwise known as the Robin Hood Tax.
I believe that the impact of the cuts upon ordinary people has simply not been fair. Whilst I recognise that these have largely been due to the actions of central government in cutting grants to local authorities, I believe this council should be doing more to speak up for alternative policy options to the austerity approach prescribed by Westminster.
With unemployment at 2.5 million, growth stagnant across the country, and frontline public services strapped for resources, I believe this council should take a formal stand on this issue – and the FTT is an important way of doing this.
An FTT would raise up to £20bn a year in the UK. It would see the financial sector help clear up the mess it caused, rather than ordinary people paying with their jobs, frozen or lower wages, and declining public services. Local government has felt the cuts more than most, and should be at the forefront of the fight back against these centrally imposed measures.
I write to ask you to propose a motion calling on the government to introduce an FTT, and secure formal backing for it from this council. In doing so, you would be making a real, and popular difference, combatting austerity both within our authority and beyond. Your council would join the likes of Edinburgh City, Torfaen, Islington and Corby.
To access the councillors guide including: motion, briefing, press release, fast facts and an accompanying speech, please visit the hub page here: bit.ly/Wu71GU
Here is my reply:
Many thanks for your e-mail about the Financial Transaction Tax, aka Tobin Tax/Robin Hood Tax.
It is a matter that I have some sympathy with, having personally signed the petition when it first surfaced
If you follow my social media presence, you will see that I am passionate about combating austerity, fighting for social justice, abolishing the bedroom tax and promoting social housing.
And this I do within the community, within the Council and within the Labour and Co-operative Parties.
My problem with proposing this as a formal motion to be considered by Exeter City Council is contained within the written constitution
Standing Order 6
Notices of Motion at Council
(6) Every motion shall be relevant to some matter in relation to which the Council has powers or duties, or which affects the City
I take a broadminded view of this definition, yet I can’t quite see that the aims this motion directly affects the city.
Even if Central Government does decide to introduce the FTT, it would be up to them where they will spend it.
I have been supporting the LGA’s “Rewiring Public Services” campaign to try and influence parties of all colours to re-address the issue of local government funding in a new way.
Maybe the Robin Hood Tax campaign would have more effect engaging directly with Parliament – perhaps by getting 100k signatures on a Govt e-petition (the “War on Welfare” WOW petition has been a model of good practice in this matter).
Once again thank you for getting in touch