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News Release 7 Mar 2011


EIS supports Robin Hood tax to protect public services

On the day that Members of the European Parliament vote on the Podimata Report and a proposal to support an EU-wide Financial Transaction Tax (FTT), the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) has added its support for a FTT or "Robin Hood” Tax as a practical and workable solution to protect public services from budget cuts. 

The EIS believes that a Financial Transaction Tax on large-scale transactions between banks and other financial institutions would provide a massive injection to public funds and greatly reduce the need for cuts to public services such as education.

Commenting today, EIS General Secretary Ronnie Smith said, "The political consensus of a need for deep cuts to public services is as damaging as it is wrong. 

"There is a better way to tackle the financial crisis and that is by making sure that the banks who led the country into this recession make a fitting contribution to delivering the way out of it. 

"A Financial Transactions Tax levied on financial institutions for activities such as currency trading, the sale of stocks and shares and derivative products would provide a massive cash injection to the public purse and help support vital public services such as education.”

Mr Smith added, "It was not the pupils or teachers in our schools, nor the students and lecturers in our further and higher education institutions who caused the current financial crisis. 

"It was not investment in education that sent the county spiralling into a deep pit of debt from which it is now struggling to recover. 

"It was the greed of financial speculators and the highly questionable ethical standards of many financial institutions, aided and abetted by lax or non-existent government regulation, that forced the country to the brink of total financial and economic meltdown.”

Mr Smith continued, "It is wrong that our pupils and students should be forced to pay the price for the greed of wealthy financiers and currency speculators. 

"When the banks dug themselves into a massive financial black hole through their greed and dubious investment practices, it was to the public purse that they turned for a massive financial bail-out. 

"Every single one of us helped to pay to bail out the banks through our tax contributions, and now it is time for those same financial institutions to repay some of the debt that they owe to our public finances and our public services.”

Mr Smith added, "Bank profits on large-scale transactions are so large that a small levy on each of these transactions could generate Billions of pounds for the public purse. 

"The Robin Hood campaign estimates that a very small surcharge on each of these transactions would go a very long way to restoring the health of our public finances.

"This would help to repay the debt owed to the public purse by the banks and protect vital public services – without any hindrance to the on-going business of the financial services industry or the benefits it delivers to its shareholders.”

Mr Smith went on to say, "At a time when bank bonuses and executive pay are, once again, soaring to excessive levels it is fitting that we now look to the financial industry to repay the debt that they owe to the taxpayer. 

"Teachers, lecturers, pupils and students are not looking for big cash hand-outs, excessive salaries or blockbuster bonuses.  Instead, they are looking for proper support and adequate funding for a high-quality education system which will offer improved life chances for every learner across the country. 

"By ensuring that the banks and financial institutions pay their fair share, we can help to deliver a fairer and better society, with equal access to a high-quality education for all.”

(ENDS)
For more information, please contact:
Brian Cooper (Media & Communications), Tel 0131 225 6244 Mob 07974 715101

For further details on the Robin Hood Tax campaign, please visit robinhoodtax.org