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Is a Robin Hood Tax a good idea?

Charities, unions and celebrities are calling for a Robin Hood tax on banks they claim could raise £250bn($400bn)a year to fight poverty. Would you back this tax?

The tax would levy a tariff of about five pence for every £1,000 traded between financial institutions - supporters include Oxfam, the TUC and actor Bill Nighy.

But the tax has been dismissed as unworkable by many bankers. IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn described it as "a very old idea that is not really possible today".

Would you support the Robin Hood Tax? Would it work in practice? Should banks give more to "good causes"? Or is there a better way to fight poverty?

Robin Hood banking tax 'would raise billions'

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Published: Wednesday, 10 February, 2010, 10:05 GMT 10:05 UK

All comments as they come in

Added: Thursday, 11 February, 2010, 17:34 GMT 17:34 UK

We shouldn’t start collecting money from some silly bank tax just for the heck of it, and then find some good causes to spend it on.

If Oxfam have a good plan to eradicate poverty, and can produce a credible picture of what it will cost, we can look at how this should be funded. And we can look at whether the tax payers (including banks and bankers) should contribute to that.

But it is stupid to introduce a new tax, without a very clear reason why we need it.

Jan, Sydney

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Added: Thursday, 11 February, 2010, 17:29 GMT 17:29 UK

Robin the poor - like pension schemes and savers - seems to be a bad thing. Banks will need to charge this and thus the poor pubic will be the payers. A stupid idea!

Bill Potter, Telford

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Added: Thursday, 11 February, 2010, 17:18 GMT 17:18 UK

"But state owned utilities don't really work, do they? A pity, that. Wonder why.

[stress_bunny]"

you mean utilities like the fire brigade? how about the armed services?

Do you think a private company police force would be better? Would you pay the money they'd ask for?

Mark, Exeter, UK

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Added: Thursday, 11 February, 2010, 17:16 GMT 17:16 UK

If anyone really believes the banks won't get the money back by passing it onto bank account holders, they must be in a dream world!
Tax on the banks will be paid for by the consumer eventually...

Colin, Bristol

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Added: Thursday, 11 February, 2010, 17:13 GMT 17:13 UK

"I have a better idea let's Tax the poor, in America the top 50 % of wage earners pay 95 % of all taxes, the poor who live quite well here pay virtually nothing."

But the top 5% wage earners pay less than 20% tax yet take home 40% of the money.

Microsoft paid NO TAXES whatsoever for three years.

Mark, Exeter, UK

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Added: Thursday, 11 February, 2010, 17:07 GMT 17:07 UK

If Britain ceased all foreign aid and abolished the welfare state in its current form, we'd have billions sloshing around to reduce our current deficit.

The NHS should only be available for
Pensioners and for anyone under 25,
Above 25 years old, only those with over 5 years of NI contributions
unless they've been in fulltime education - university.

sick of poor people moaning, and expecting handouts - abolish the welfare state

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Added: Thursday, 11 February, 2010, 17:07 GMT 17:07 UK

"How do you give people backbone and self-repect?
How do you ensure that children are nurtured?
How do you eliminate anti-social behaviour?
How can you make the different strata of socity more equal?

Don't ask me, for all I can tell you is that hand-outs do not seem to be working.

[Chartier]"

How dreadfully pompous! It's the casino style gambling with other people's money by the financial institutions that has caused this crisis. They need to be reigned in.

Righty Rightnutter

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Added: Thursday, 11 February, 2010, 17:05 GMT 17:05 UK

Lots of comments about being overtaxed. Nonsense. UK is one of the lowest taxed countries in Europe, ergo, widest wealth gap in Europe. Most poverty. Societal disintegration.
I say raise the taxes, of us and the banks, to create a fairer society. Greed is wrong. Caring is better.
You just want lower taxes so you can buy more shiny things. Sad!

John P, Glasgow

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Added: Thursday, 11 February, 2010, 17:04 GMT 17:04 UK

Just add up the total amount that each Bank or financial institution who have been bailed out with OUR money pay out in Bonuses.
Then charge each bank the exact amount of these bonuses in a windfall tax.
I bet we would soon see the banks reducing the amount of bonus payments.
I'm thinking of applying for a £20 million loan, then when I can't repay anything, the government will bail me out, and the bank who gave me the loan will give me a large bonus.
Maybe life is just a dream.

Mick Waite, Leicester, United Kingdom

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Added: Thursday, 11 February, 2010, 17:03 GMT 17:03 UK

5 pence for every £1000.00 represents a tax rate of a pathetic 0.005%. Bankers do not deserve all the money they take because the money they invest is not their own, it is ours! This is not even about redistribution of wealth, rather it is about stopping the banks from siphoning off that which is not theirs. If we are serious about making poverty history and perhaps tacking the national debt incurred, the tax should be set at 0.5% (any higher and the banks might pass on the charge to customers).

Sasha Millwood, Essex, United Kingdom

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Added: Thursday, 11 February, 2010, 16:47 GMT 16:47 UK

It may have escaped everybody's notice, but Robin Hood was a thief.

[Darkseid], United Kingdom

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Added: Thursday, 11 February, 2010, 16:47 GMT 16:47 UK

"If anyone can explain why they should be paid more than 500K a year and then use a tax avoidance scheme so they don't even pay the normal rate of taxation,"

If I work hard enough or make personal sacrifices to warrant a 500K+ income why shouldn't I be allowed to? If people use tax loopholes, then surely the correct response is to close the loopholes?

Take away the incentive to work and create a better life for oneself and you create a nation of slaves totally dependent upon government.

Andy Parsons, UK ex-pat, United States

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Added: Thursday, 11 February, 2010, 16:45 GMT 16:45 UK

Poor used to mean No Job, wife and 2 kids to support, no proper roof over ones head, one cold water tap, tin bath if lucky, lcoal fire in one room, umpy old bed and a few chairs and a handout of
£2-10s-00d from the Dole to buy 2 loves of bread, milk, a stone of potates.

But Poor today appears to mean £100 plus a week benefits, HD Television, phone, fridge, carpets, 3 bed house with central heating, 2 cars and a credit rating of £15000.

Or am I missing out, running my own business

Rays a Larf Corluvaduck, Fareham, United Kingdom

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Added: Thursday, 11 February, 2010, 16:36 GMT 16:36 UK

Yet another tax ? Soon there will be no more money left in circulation.

[newleedsman], Leeds, United Kingdom

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Added: Thursday, 11 February, 2010, 16:33 GMT 16:33 UK

It would not work because any such tax will be passed on to the customer in the form of increased charges and fees. They take advantage because there is no true competition in the banking market place. Big banks should be forcibly broken up into smaller banks, creating a market where real competition exists and, as in other business areas, banks should be allowed to fail.

Tone Bee, St Hives

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DEBATE STATUS

Total comments:
920
Published comments:
873
Rejected comments:
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