Press Release


The European Commission's proposed draft law for a financial transaction tax represents the crucial first step in the journey towards a Robin Hood Tax.

That's the message from Labour's Stephen Hughes MEP following a major announcement by Commission President José Manuel Barroso.

The Labour MEP for the North East Region also warned the British government that it must listen to campaigners' calls for a fairer tax system.

Stephen Hughes said: "The British government should give these proposals proper consideration and not dismiss them out of hand just to please City suits.

"We need to look at the detail and ensure that any proposals represent a good deal for Britain, given its dominance in financial services.  But I welcome the Commission's proposal as a starting point in the debate.

"The proposals can't be pushed through without British agreement, so let's engage in the process and try to find a way in which the financial sector can pay its fair share towards the cost of the economic crisis.

"Millions of people have made it clear that they would like to see a Robin Hood Tax that uses a very small levy on financial markets to support good causes both at home and abroad.

"Of course the banks and hedge funds will cry foul, but we need politicians who are willing to stand up for the public interest not vested interests.

"A well implemented Financial Transaction Tax could be a way of making our tax system fairer, helping lift the burden from the hard-working majority and bringing greater stability to financial markets.

"As families up and down the country feel the pinch, there is a danger that Cameron will try to hide behind 'EU tax' rhetoric to avoid a public debate about whether the financial sector pays its fair share in these difficult times."