Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Maybe Oxfam should pursue aid rather than tax?

At PMQs yesterday the Prime Minister David Cameron made a good point about supporters of a Tobin tax needing to be wary that EU states will use it as an excuse for not acting on foreign aid. In response to Caroline Lucas’ question (28:20) he said:

We must be careful that we don't allow other countries, including some other European countries, to use a campaign for this tax that they know is unlikely to be adopted in the short term as an excuse for getting off their aid commitments.

We in this House, in this country, can be proud of the fact we are meeting our aid commitments. Don't let others use this tax as a way of getting off things they promised.

The Coalition Agreement made a huge commitment to overseas aid on behalf of the UK:

The target of spending 0.7% of GNI on overseas aid will also remain in place.

Do Oxfam, CAFOD, etc really want to see EU governments prevaricate for years on their aid spending on the basis that they can’t get a Tobin tax agreed with Singapore? Or Shanghai? Or whoever else thinks that they can set up an offshore centre to catch the business?

Why doesn’t Oxfam spend its £15.7 million annual campaigning war chest persuading some other EU governments to front up more aid cash? Just to give that figure some context UK political parties are limited to spending £18.96 million every four or five years to persuade the country to vote for them. Oxfam spends pretty much that every year.

It seems that Oxfam & co. want to see the rest of the EU rape London, which would pay 80% of the EU tax take, to pay their dues. So we get to pay twice. Thanks Oxfam, Archbishop Rowan Williams and sundry Occupy weirdies.

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