LETTER: One in five British families have the choice: eat or heat

I AGREE with the recent comments of Kevin Hey and Chris Johnson on the state of the economy with hyper consumption and likely implosion of the present system.

They confirm my view that global capitalism is consumed with national and individual debt, which will lead eventually to its collapse. Printing, borrowing and spending more and more money will not save us. We cannot continue striving after economic growth in a world of finite resources – it’s unsustainable.

We should make the less painful transition to a sustainable and just economic system which meets basic needs and shares the common wealth equitably nationally and globally by carrying out two actions.

First, as the Pendle MP says in his article “From the House” (February 1st), the Government must ensure loopholes are closed so big business and the rich are legally obliged to pay taxes due on their profits.

A second way of restoring economic justice is to introduce a financial transaction tax, commonly called the Robin Hood Tax. Banks, hedge funds and the rest of the financial sector should pay their fair share to clear up the mess they helped create by imposing a tax on their financial transactions.

The Robin Hood Tax would generate billions of pounds. That money would fight poverty in the UK and overseas. It would tackle climate change. A small tax on the transactions of the financial sector could generate £20 billion annually in the UK alone. That’s enough to protect schools and hospitals; enough to stop massive cuts across the public sector. It could be the stimulus to invest in necessary businesses and services. It could create long-term employment with enough income for people to be financially independent of the state.

It’s time for justice for ordinary families and businesses. If not, one in five British families face a choice between eating and heating. Millions of people around the world have been forced into poverty by a financial crisis they did absolutely nothing to bring about. The banks, multi-national corporations and financial institutions can afford it. The systems are in place to collect it. It won’t affect ordinary members of the public, their bank accounts or their savings. It’s fair, it’s timely, and it’s achievable.

Only last month, the European Union gave the green light to 11 countries to implement an FTT. The top European Union tax chief called it “historic” and “a major milestone in tax history”. If 11 countries in Europe have adopted the FTT system, why does not the UK follow suit? We need a Plan B now.

DAVID PENNEY

Treasurer, BP&R Green Party