TAX THE RICH – don’t rob the poor / Britain / Home – Morning Star

TAX THE RICH – don’t rob the poor

Anti-poverty campaigners marked World Poverty Day on Sunday by tearing into the Tories’ “political posturing” on international aid and demanding a “Robin Hood tax” on the rich. The call for a new government to introduce the TUC-backed Robin Hood tax – a 0.05 per cent levy on international financial transactions by wealthy banks – came as the former heads of major anti-poverty charities lambasted Tory leader David Cameron for “lacking a serious commitment” to tackling poverty. The campaigners, including the previous leaders of Make Poverty History and Oxfam, accused the Conservatives of “pushing crude attempts to export failed ideological or populist policies on aid.” The Tories’ late commitment to the fight against global poverty “suggests that the party is more interested in political posturing than helping the poor,” they declared in a statement. All the main political parties have now pledged to meet the United Nations aim of spending 0.7 per cent of national income on help for developing countries within three years – with the Tories being the last party to agree on meeting the goal. But unions and international aid charities continued to press the parties to hit the rich with the bank transaction tax to raise a colossal £250 billion each year to help the poorest in Britain and in developing countries. “This tax on banks has the power to raise hundreds of billions every year and could give a vital boost to the NHS, our schools, and the fight against child poverty in Britain – and tackle poverty around the world,” emphasised TUC leader Brendan Barber. War on Want head John Hilary urged the parties to go further and not to use “headline pledges on poverty” to hide their free-trade and tax-dodging policies, which he stressed were “damaging developing countries.” “We must not allow the parties to rest easy on their aid commitments while their other policies threaten to condemn hundreds of millions of people to extreme poverty in the long term,” he declared. Amnesty UK campaigns director Tim Hancock added: “Whoever becomes Prime Minister should honour their promises to see the gap diminish between the world’s poorest and richest by tackling the fundamental human rights violations that obstruct progress in eradicating poverty.” Prime Minister Gordon Brown marked World Poverty Day by attending Sunday service at a Methodist chapel and proclaimed “the greatest social movements in history were built by people with conscience and conviction who demanded social justice.” But Scottish National Party spokesman Pete Wishart called on the Westminster government to do more to meet its commitments on international aid. He insisted that so far “Labour has failed to deliver.” “The cosy consensus of the London politicians needs to be broken, and in this election, only the SNP is offering an alternative vision,” he emphasised.

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