Edinburgh first Scottish council to back “Robin Hood” tax

City of Edinburgh Council has become the first in Scotland to back the so-called “Robin Hood” tax, following a proposal by Green councillors today.

Councillors from SNP, Labour and Liberal Democrats backed the Green motion to make representation to the UK Government on the value of what is more formally called a Financial Transactions Tax, a tiny levy of between 0.01 and 0.1% on products like stocks, bonds and derivatives. The tax could raise £250 billion globally and around £20 billion in the UK alone.

Steve BurgegssGreen Councillor Steve Burgess proposed the motion and said:

“Pressure is mounting on the Government with over one hundred thousand people in the UK actively supporting a campaign to introduce a Robin Hood tax. Councils across the country are making official representations and I’m pleased to say they have today been joined by Edinburgh Council, the first in Scotland.

“The Robin Hood tax, or Financial Transaction tax, would place a very small levy on the huge number of trades in financial products. The billions raised could go some way to offsetting the UK Government’s swingeing budget cuts that are impacting on everyone, as services are cut and welfare is slashed, including here in Edinburgh.

“Eleven other European countries, including France and Germany, have already agreed to implement a Robin Hood tax but prompted by the banks and the US government, the UK Government has lodged a legal challenge against it in the European Court..

“Despite the opposition of the current UK Government, I believe a Robin Hood tax will go ahead across Europe and there will be an opportunity for a future Government, be it UK or Scottish, to implement this very fair measure in the not too distant future.

“That’s why I welcome Council support today. From small acorns mighty oaks grow.”

The successful motion was as follows:

This Council:

Recognises the impact of the UK Coalition Government’s public sector and welfare cuts on this City and its residents;

Believes that the levy of a Financial Transaction Tax on speculative financial transactions could provide a way of raising revenue and mitigating cuts to public services;

Therefore agrees that the Council Leader should make representation to HM Government calling for the Financial Transaction Tax to be explored at the earliest opportunity.