Poll: Majority in Five Major European Countries Back Robin Hood Tax

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Poll: Majority in Five Major European Countries Back Robin Hood Tax

WASHINGTON - People across Europe have sent a clear message to their leaders to agree a financial transaction tax, known in many countries as the Robin Hood Tax, when they meet in Brussels on Thursday.

A YouGov poll commissioned by Oxfam and carried out in six European countries found a majority of people in the UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy all support a Robin Hood Tax. More voters in the Netherlands support this tax than oppose it, the poll showed.

More than 80 per cent in each country, ranging from 82 per cent in the Netherlands to 90 per cent in Spain, believe banks, hedge funds and other financial institutions have a responsibility to repair the damage caused by the economic crisis they helped to cause, the poll found.

Only one in nine people in the UK and France and one out of 11 in Germany thought banks had already done enough to atone for the economic crisis.  

The poll will add to the growing momentum behind a European FTT. Earlier this month the 17 countries in the Eurozone agreed to explore the introduction of an FTT at Euro area, EU and global levels.

The President of the Eurogroup, Jean-Claude Juncker, reiterated on Friday he would push for an FTT in Europe on a unilateral basis. This came just days after the European Parliament backed an EU-wide Robin Hood Tax. 

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said creating a coalition of countries willing to implement an FTT for development and climate change will be a key priority for his country’s year as chair of the G20. He has got strong support from political heavyweights such as German chancellor Angela Merkel. 

Oxfam is campaigning for a Robin Hood Tax to raise funds to help poor people hit by the economic crisis and to tackle climate change. 

Elise Ford, Head of Oxfam International’s EU office, said: “This poll shows that a Robin Hood Tax on banks’ financial transactions could be the most popular tax in Europe’s history.

“People are sending a clear message to their leaders: banks have not done enough to atone for their sins. People across Europe clearly believe their governments should join President Sarkozy’s coalition of the willing and make the financial sector pay to help people hit by the economic crisis.” 

More than twice as many people supported an FTT than opposed it in the UK (51 per cent vs 19 per cent), Germany (53 v 24), France (51 v 22), Spain (67 v 15) and Italy (59 v 18). In the Netherlands 38 per cent of those questioned were in favour and 25 per cent opposed.  

The poll shows that in the UK, whose government is believed to be most likely to oppose an EU-wide FTT, more supporters of the Conservative Party (45 per cent) back a Robin Hood Tax than oppose it (27%), 87 per cent believe financial institutions should help repair the damage they caused and only 16 per cent believe banks have already paid back enough since the economic collapse. The Conservative Party is the largest in the UK’s coalition government.

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The Robin Hood Tax campaign

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Oxfam International is a confederation of 13 like-minded organizations working together and with partners and allies around the world to bring about lasting change. Oxfam works directly with communities and that seeks to influence the powerful to ensure that poor people can improve their lives and livelihoods and have a say in decisions that affect them.

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