robin hood's very merry bankers

What does everyone think about this Robin Hood tax. Call me a cynical sceptic, but if this tax is made law, I can expect just about every bank to find a loophole, transfer all their trading arms overseas and put two fingers up to their customers and the government.

Given their reluctance to forego their vast bonuses for a job incredibly badly done and not even turn a well coiffeured forelock at the thought, how likely is it that they're going to become saintly philanthropists overnight? Not a chance. It is not those filthy rich rats who will be paying this tax, it'll be you and me who are going to end up paying it via megahiked charges, that's who.

It works well in theory. Banks pay a 0.05% tax on all their business transactions so as to raise (by the latest calculations) over £100bn pounds annually to further finance the NHS, education, global warming initiatives, and overseas aid.

Oh I can definitely see that happening. Yeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaas.

The saving grace of the campaign, by my standards at least, is the casting of Bill Nighy as the banker in the campaign video. That at least takes my focus away from my lack of trust in the banking system for about three and a half minutes.


  1. I'm sure you're right that they'll try to pass on the cost to customers - though if the government followed Obama's plan to pass a law forcing the investment arms of banks to be separate firms from the savings and loans arms then it'd be harder for them to do it (though they might find a way).

    The other problem is that if it achieves one of it's aims - to reduce currency speculation - it'll reduce it's success on it's other aim - to bring in extra tax revenue. However reducing currency speculation would mean the bank of England would be spending less money on buying pounds if there's a run on the pound.

  2. Hi - thanks for the comment. It's a pity more attention can't be paid to Obama's thorough shaking up of the US system and his no-nonsense approach to getting their economy back on track, despite the squealing from those with their snouts in the trough. Mind you, didn't he issue a somewhat sharp rebuke to good old Gord a few weeks back, saying the US model of financial recovery didn't match that of the UK and therefore Gord copying the US recovery method was inappropriate? :-)

    It is a catch-22 in many ways, and if restrictions led to less taxable income it would be counter productive. Plus there is this - should a government create an income stream from the banks if that income stream is liable to fluctuate too much - I'd hate to see Britain suffer further if cuts to vital services were implemented thanks to less income from the banking sector.

    Maybe a base tax threshold for the banks. Below that level they still pay the same rate but as a consequence end up with less profit. That could encourage speculation rather than risk slipping below their profitable percentage of income (did that make sense? I'm not a finance expert by any means). It would also guarantee a level of banking income for the government.

    Still don't trust the sector not to dig about for the loopholes.