BMA backs tax on financial transactions after heated debate

26th June 2012 

The BMA will back a campaign for a ‘Tobin tax’ on banking financial transactions to raise funds for public services.

Following an impassioned debate and close votes, the meeting supported the call led by Manchester medical student Khalil Secker for the BMA to add its name to the list of trade unions, non-governmental organisations and governments that supported the proposed tax.

Mr Secker said: ‘We are told that we live in a time of austerity but this year bankers were paid £10bn in bonuses.’

He added that the Tobin tax, or the financial transaction tax, of 0.05 per cent, would raise an estimated £20bn for the UK each year. This could be reinvested in the NHS, public services, fighting climate change and overseas humanitarian aid.

Mr Secker said former BMA president Professor Sir Michael Marmot, Unison, the National Union of Teachers, the United Nations, Oxfam, medical student campaign network Medsin UK, two Nobel prize winners for economics and the French and German governments were among those that backed the concept.

‘Flawed proposal’

Cambridge medical student Arrash Yassaee said the proposal was ‘one of the most flawed’ to be put forward at the 2012 annual meeting and ‘goes beyond the remit of what the BMA should be fighting for’.

Mr Yassaee said there was no evidence the tax would work and claimed it could adversely affect pension schemes. ‘We should leave tax [matters] to governments, to think tanks,’ he said.

Sheffield consultant psychiatrist Paul Miller also argued that it was ‘an ill-conceived proposal’ that could drive the banking sector out of the UK.

Dr Miller said: ‘Unless it is universal it will not work. If you think the entire world is going to impose this tax then I am astonished.’

He added that support from French and German governments for the Tobin tax was because they were ‘jealous of the success’ of the banking sector in London.

However, the meeting expressed support for the Tobin tax by 53 per cent to 44 per cent. The meeting also called on the BMA to lobby the government to implement the Tobin tax.

British Medical Association

Comments
  • DAVID A SHAW June 27, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    Point one, since when did the BMA not have a right to be voicing and voting in a matter which affects them greatly, ie the destruction of the NHS by the vicious fascist government. As it is indeed a union in all but name, its members have a right to support something they feel is necessary, and indeed it is . For this kind of thing is the only way the banking sector in this country will be reigned in and made to pay for its fraud, extortion and criminal practice that has brought not only Europe but the whole world inot chaos.

  • Sam Brackenbury June 27, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    Please go to change.org and sign my petition against Atos!……We have to stop the carnage!

  • Humanity2012 June 29, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    Capitalism is Based upon Exploitation and the Condoning and Collaboration with
    In Justice

  • jeff lph June 30, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    the bankers got us in to this mess by there gambleing,but its the ill and the poor pay is that fair,according to old yassy, what a big plonker its ok,let the bugers go to china and wreck there economy at least they will go to jail not get mps to order to print more cash ie QE
    jeff

  • paul barnard July 1, 2012 at 10:33 am

    DAVID A SHAW
    Point one, since when did the BMA not have a right to be voicing and voting in a matter which affects them greatly, ie the destruction of the NHS by the vicious fascist government. As it is indeed a union in all but name, its members have a right to support something they feel is necessary, and indeed it is . For this kind of thing is the only way the banking sector in this country will be reigned in and made to pay for its fraud, extortion and criminal practice that has brought not only Europe but the whole world inot chaos.

    nice – well said!

  • paul barnard July 1, 2012 at 10:37 am

    ok – this might not be directly the “business” of the BMA, but if we are all a community and these greedy swine in charge of the country (the corporategoverrnmedia) are ruining all our lives with their lies than why wouldn’t any responsible human being want to protest and change the system, even i would say tear it all down. let the banking sywstem die.maybe we can all help create systems that might actually work for the 99% of us?

  • Ron July 3, 2012 at 10:09 am

    I have to say that with the resignation of Bob Diamond, CEO of Barclays, and the psuedo resignation of his chairman – he’ll resign but only when he’s ready – surely this is sufficient evidence to suggest that disabled people and the poor and unemployed obviously caused the economic crisis we face as a country. The Banks have acted in our public interest and it is only those latter groups, with their wanton desire to be recognised and treated with the dignity and respect of the Bankers that has landed them in the trouble they are in

    WCA is nothing compared to the £billions of bonuses necessarily rewarding good works. Anyway, it’s the Olympics soon …. so carry on ….. as you were …..!!!

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