European election candidate Nessa Childers MEP has this morning called on her fellow nominees to pressurise the Government into supporting a Europe-wide bankers’ levy.
As 11 EU countries prepare to introduce the Financial Transaction Tax, the independent politician said: ‘Lobbyists for big banks and wealthy financial institutions have been fighting the FTT tooth and nail. And last week, Europe’s top court rejected a challenge taken by Britain – paving the way for the tax to be introduced across Europe.’
The UK Treasury had argued that the FTT was not in their country’s national interest, and that it undermined ‘the integrity of the single market’. In particular, Britain maintained that the tax disproportionally impacts those nations outside of the Eurozone.
‘We need this tax,’ Ms Childers added. ‘It is an important step towards achieving greater tax equality: why should financial institutions not pay their own way? Ireland could eventually benefit by some €500million annually via an EU-wide FTT – just think of what that sort of money could achieve in areas including green energy, health and education.’
The proposed minimum rates for the FTT are 0.1 per cent on bonds and shares, and 0.01 per cent on derivative agreements.
Ms Childers continued: ‘When the financial crisis hit six years ago, across Europe local businesses collapsed, families lost their homes and countless numbers became jobless. Indeed, in this country we are more aware than most of the devastating consequences for many because of the actions of a few. And if Britain’s appeal had been successful, it would have only served as a further slap in the face to these struggling masses.’
The FTT will initially be adopted by 11 nations: Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Austria, Portugal, Greece, Slovenia, Slovakia and Estonia.
Ms Childers concluded: ‘Ireland has an awful lot to gain from this levy and really, we should be assuming a much stronger line on it; our Government should be looking to join those 11 nations and I’d now hope for far more assertive campaigning in favour of it.’