René Kinzett is Conservative candidate for Swansea West and leader of the Conservative Group on Swansea Council. Here he responds to the attack on the "Robin Hood Tax" recently posted by Patrick Nolan of Reform.
One of the lines we keep hearing from the Right is that a Financial Transaction Tax (aka Robin Hood Tax) is a good idea but it would never work. Sorry to break it to you all, but we already have lots of transaction taxes and they're working just fine. There's a 0.5% tax on buying and selling shares in the London Stock Exchange. In the US, a small tax on transactions finances the securities and exchanges commission.
So we know it works - and it's already bringing in billions of dollars to governments around the world. The question is really rather simple: do we want to do it?
Let's remember where we are. The actions of the financial sector have wrought havoc around the world. It goes far beyond the trillion pounds or so that the UK Government used to prop up the banks here. People have lost their jobs, export markets painstakingly built up over years have been decimated, and social spending worldwide is set to be slashed. Ideas like the insurance levy are just about setting up a new fund to bail out the banks again should they hit another pothole - it would do nothing to redress the harm that's been done to society as a whole.
As our party’s candidate in Swansea West, I know full well the impact of the economic recession on the poorest people in our communities here in the UK. Swansea has two of the poorest ten wards in Wales, generational joblessness, low educational attainment and a loss of hope for the future are crippling such communities. Without new ways to raise money like the FTT, sooner or later, the people, like my constituents in Swansea, who have already paid once for the crisis through lost jobs and public service cuts will be asked to pay again through rises in income tax or VAT. This really isn't fair.