Bowles: proposed EU financial transaction tax is “Sheriff of Nottingham tax”

Sharon Bowles MEPSharon Bowles MEP, who chairs the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, has strongly criticised European financial transaction tax proposals which were passed in the European Parliament today. Sharon voted against the proposals.

An EU-wide financial transaction tax was proposed by the European Commission last September and will also be discussed by EU leaders at an informal summit this week.

The tax would be levied on financial transactions including those made by insurance firms and ordinary companies which use financial transactions to hedge their risks. This could be supermarkets or manufacturers.

However, the tax burden to these firms will be quickly passed on to the citizen, for example, through increased home and car insurance or price rises on manufactured goods, such as cars.

Sharon said:

“Let us be clear, this is a stealth tax that would hit the man on the street. It has more in common with the Sheriff of Nottingham than Robin Hood.

“The burden of this tax does not fall on banks. It will be ordinary people who foot the bill in price rises and steeper insurance costs. Anyone who tries to pretend otherwise is simply being an opportunist. It is just the same as a VAT hike – let us at least be honest about it.

“While the idea of a financial transaction tax is attractive, if you believe it falls on banks and speculators, I think most people would be pretty angry to find out they would end up paying it at a time like the present when incomes are being squeezed.

“I am all for making banks pay their fair share through bank levies and examination of tax loopholes, but this version of a financial transaction tax is not the way.”

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