"Robin Hood Tax" Report Launch Event with the Labour Party

Labour_Rose.pngChristians on the Left supports the introduction of the "Robin Hood Tax" or an FTT (Financial Transaction Tax) and has worked in Partnership with the Robin Hood Tax Campaign for many years.

Today, Tuesday July 18th saw the release of a milestone report in the campaign for an FTT that would benefit the whole of the UK. John McDonnell MP, the Shadow Chancellor was there to introduce Professor Avinash Persaud (author of the report) along with Jonathan Reynolds MP, Shadow City Minister and Chair of Christians on the Left. Daniel May-Miller and Andy Flannagan were also there from CotL to find out and report on what all the excitement was about...

Download and Read the full, easily digestible report here. Surprisingly well written, with depth and detail on how and why the tax will work, yet understandable by almost anyone.

Robin-Hood_logo.pngBrilliant 3-min Interview with the report Author:-

The Robin Hood Tax on the Today programme on Radio 4

Search @ChrLeft on Facebook and view our videos to see interviews from the event.

REPORT: Improving Resilience, Increasing Revenue – modernising the UK’s stamp duty on shares

Modernising the Stamp Duty Reserve Tax (SDRT)

The UK’s stamp duty on share transactions, originally introduced in 1694, is one of the oldest taxes. The existing 0.5% stamp duty on share transactions raises £3.3bn a year and is paid by all retail and pension fund investors in shares. Under pressure from the industry, the design of the tax has not kept pace with industry developments and is now in need of modernising. Labour will end abuse of the ‘market maker exemption’ that costs the Treasury £1bn a year. Labour will also widen the tax from transactions in shares to similar markets such as equity and credit derivatives and corporate bonds. These moves will add an extra £4.7bn in revenue, raising the total take to £8bn in the first year, or around £25bn. over the course of a 5-year parliament.

Closing the current loophole

At present anyone who trades in equities pays the tax except those who use the market maker exemption, which includes hedge funds and high frequency traders. Those who currently qualify for the market maker exemption will also start paying the tax at a discounted rate (0.2% rather than 0.5%). The tax will be extended to those who trade equity derivatives, as well as in corporate bonds and their derivatives. The vast majority of trading in these instruments is not carried out by retail investors. Closing this loophole will raise about £1 bn. per year, taking into account reduced volume of transactions as more superfluous trades are no longer carried out. This will also eliminate destabilising high-frequency trading.

Rebutting criticisms

i) Relocation of financial business

The tax is designed so that there is no advantage from relocating. The days in which you can set up foreign bank accounts and not reveal underlying ownership are over. Those liable for the tax, either through their underlying residency or where the securities were issued will still have to pay the tax wherever they move their trades and so will have no reason to move. Those who trade in London but are not UK tax resident or are not trading UK issued securities will not be taxed and will therefore have no tax reason to move either.

ii) Impact on pensioners

There will be no change in the tax pension funds currently pay for share transactions. This is a tax on churning and so it will fall least heavily on pension funds who trade the least and most heavily on hedge funds who trade more frequently. Moreover, the tax will force those who manage the money of others to reveal the amount that they are churning their investment portfolios, leading to a reduction in churning and an increase in returns to fund members. Pension funds prefer to own underlying securities and have minimal exposure to derivatives, so extension of the tax to these instruments will not impact them materially.

iii) Cascading costs

Brokers transacting on behalf of an underlying clients will not pay the tax. Those owning taxed securities while market-making will pay 0.2%, less than half of the ordinary rate.

iv) Impact on liquidity

The liquidity that matters most is the liquidity present when there is a run on a   financial market: where panicky selling leads to further selling or vice versa. High frequency traders add to these runs by trying to jump ahead, selling more and faster than others. They drain liquidity when it is needed most. The closing of the market-maker loophole that high frequency traders abuse will eliminate this behaviour, making our markets more resilient. The rise of high frequency trading has been matched by the rise of flash crashes. Reducing the scale and frequency of market crashes will bring benefits many times the tax revenues.


Read the brilliant, easy to digest full version of the report here.


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Abortion: An Adult Conversation?

The issue of abortion and crisis pregnancy more generally has been back in the news in the last few weeks. In the midst of the inflammatory language and virtue signalling from both sides of the debate it is sometimes difficult to have an adult conversation about the issue. This means for many of us, our understanding of such a complex subject is fairly superficial. Christians on the Left is curating the thoughts of some of our members and referencing some hopefully helpful background reading:

Whose Justice? by Heather Staff

Pro-Life for All of Life? by Rachel Burgin

Abortion and Devolution by Heather Wilson

The BMA and Decriminalisation of Abortion by Dr Rachael Pickering

Some detail from the medical profession: Reflections on the BMA Vote by Dr Peter Saunders [external link to Christian Medical Fellowship]

A theological article about the presumptions of both pro-life and pro-choice positions: Abortion and Our Attitude to the Foetus by Lee Gatiss [external link to The Theologian]

Here are also three articles from 2016 on the subject, following Professor Cathy Warwick and the Royal College of Midwives decision to back a decriminalisation campaign.

Surely We Can Agree on Some Things? by Jennie Pollock

Abortion is not Social Justice: A Northern Irish Perspective by Heather Wilson

We Must Speak Up for the Voiceless by Sunny Mandich

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Responding to terror

Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of the recent terrorist attacks in London and Manchester, and with their friends and families. Such acts of violence are designed to strike fear in our hearts but instead, as has been so evident, they have the effect of emphasising our common humanity and increasing our resolve.

These have been attacks on our way of life too – on our democracy and tolerance of different views. The General Election has many people of different faiths standing as candidates, across the political spectrum. This is something to be celebrated, and stands in stark contrast to the extremist views of those who have taken lives in the name of faith.


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Watching our words and deeds

Statement from Christians on the Left regarding antisemitic, abusive and intolerant behaviour

‘Within European culture, the root of all racism, I think is found in antisemitism. It goes back more than 1000 years in Europe. Within our Christian tradition, there has been century upon century of these terrible, terrible hatreds in which one people, who at the same time have contributed more to our culture as a people than almost any other that one can identify, that one people are also hated more specifically, more violently, more determinedly, more systematically than any other people.’ – Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury 2017

Respect, dignity, tolerance, watching our words and deeds; all things we value highly as Christians on the Left, along with the ability to disagree robustly but well and the ability to speak out against persecution and hatred.

Events over the last few months have shone a spotlight on the worst of how we behave towards one another. The unacceptable antisemitic remarks and racist behaviour displayed in public, over social media and within communities have all shown a need for relational restoration.

As Christians on the Left, we believe that antisemitic, xenophobic, racist and other personal attacks are absolutely unacceptable. 

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Meet Ann Pettifor

Ann Pettifor will be one of the main speakers at the Tawney dialogue this Wednesday. Read on to find out about her and her views.

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Global Week of Action for Tax Justice April 3rd - 9th 2017

And Protest at PricewaterhouseCoopers head office, Villiers St, London, April 5th, 12 – 1 pm

mossack_fonsecaThe Global Alliance for Tax Justice has called a Week of Action for the first week of April, to coincide with the first anniversary of the ‘Panama Papers’. These were the 11 million files from the Panama law firm of Mossack Fonseca, exposed by a whistle-blower and showing how companies and wealthy individuals avoid tax by using offshore centres. This information has been invaluable in exposing the tricks and ruses used to hide from the tax authorities...

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Tax Whistleblower's Appeal Fails

Suspended Jail Sentence and Fines Upheld in Luxembourg

The convictions of the two whistle-blowers who gave the world the ‘Lux-leaks’ stories have been upheld, although their suspended prison sentences have been reduced, writes Christian on the Left David Haslam, who has been following this story.

The appeals of Antoine Deltour and Raphaël Halet resulted in a six-month suspended jail sentence for Deltour, with a 1500 euros fine, and a 1000 euro fine for Halet, his suspended sentence was quashed. The journalist Edouard Perrin was again acquitted.

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My Experience of the Copeland Campaign

Last week, director Andy Flannagan, executive member Heather Staff and volunteer Matthew Judson visited Cumbria to campaign for Gillian Troughton, a Christians on the Left member and the Labour candidate in the forthcoming Copeland by-election. Matthew, a gap year student who had not previously been involved in a political campaign, shares some of his experiences and reflections.

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Byelection Candidate Gillian Troughton on BBC Sunday Politics

Our long-term member and Copeland by-election candidate Gillian Troughton was in the BBC TV studio this week, recording for BBC One's Sunday Politics with Andrew Neil (airing 12th Feb 11am).

If you can, do tune in to hear what she has to say or watch it on iPlayer this week. The Sunday Politics homepage can be found here:


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Praying for 2017

Still not sure how to pray for the coming year? Nearly 6 weeks in, our member and volunteer Hannah wasn't sure either. Next Wednesday 15th February, we will unite across the country to pray for our communities. We also want to lift up to God our MPs, our government, our nation and our world.

But where to start? The Bible is always a good place, so turning to Jesus' example of how to pray, she wrote this for us:

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