From the TUC

Send a message to Italy’s PM on Wednesday lunchtime: we need a Robin Hood tax now!

01 Jul 2014, By

This Wednesday afternoon, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi will address the European Parliament about his government’s plans for the European Union over the next six months, now that Italy holds the Presidency of the EU (starting today). One of the big issues on the agenda will be finalising the EU financial transactions tax, and campaigners all over Europe want to make sure he remembers, so we’re organising a ‘twitter storm’ from 12 noon to 1pm (British Summer Time) on Wednesday and if you’re on twitter, we want you to join in!

The key message the TUC is promoting is:

#TTFlavoltabuona @matteorenzi It’s a good time for a #RobinHoodTax #EUFTT: rein in the speculators & make them work for us for a change!

But as long as you include @matteorenzi (ideally not right at the start) and #TTFlavoltabuona (which means “it’s a good time for an FTT” in Italian), it doesn’t matter, the message will get through and we’ll know how many messages have been sent. “It’s a good time for …” Is one of Matteo Renzi’s catch-phrases, so we hope he’ll get the point that he needs to champion the negotiations to get the European Robin Hood Tax in place.

The key issues still to be resolved among the 11 European countries committed to the tax (we expect more to join when the details have been finalised and the tax is in place – and there’s still time for the UK to join in!) are coverage, timing and allocatilon.

We want the tax to cover as many types of transaction as possible, partly because that will of course increase the revenue generated, but mostly because the fewer exemptions there are, the less easy it will be to avoid. Some governments are wary of taxing transactions that they use to finance their debt (eg sovereign bonds) and they will probably be exempt. Other governments want to exempt those transactions most common in their own countries (that’s naughty, and they shouldn’t be allowed to get away with it!) Others have fallen for financial industry spin that the tax would hurt pension funds (as opposed to pension fund managers and traders, which is the real position) and they need to be convinced.

On timing, some governments want the tax to be introduced gradually, with stocks and shares covered first and derivatives brought into scope later. We don’t object to staging if there’s a mandatory timetable, and we’d prefer to see most derivatives included from day one. And on allocation, we’re urging governments to use the revenue to tackle domestic poverty, global poverty and climate change.

Tweet at Matteo Renzi now: