Jamra primary scholl for children affected by HIV/AIDS, drugs or poverty, Senegal (c) Nell Freeman/Alliance Participants in the Photovioce project, Ecuador © Marcela Nievas for the Alliance
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Growing support for Currency Transaction Levy


Aids Alliance

As the G20 finance ministers prepare to meet in London this Friday, pressure is mounting on them to introduce a Currency Transaction Levy (CTL) for health.

The Alliance has played a central role in galvanising a strong coalition of development and health organisations in the UK and US to advocate for this tax, which has the potential to raise $33 billion annually.

Last week the Financial Services Authority chairman, Lord Turner backed calls for the establishment of the CTL as a way of moderating the bonus culture in the finance sector.

Lord Turner’s endorsement adds significant weight to a campaign which is gaining public support, as people are keen for the finance sector to redress the drain it has made on national treasuries and to restore a balance between self interest and the global good.

A levy of just 0.005% on major currencies could fill much of the funding gap needed to achieve the health Millennium Development Goals by 2015, including reducing child mortality, improving maternal health and combating AIDS, TB and malaria

Such a tax is technically feasible and would be small enough not to affect decisions on trade, according to research conducted by Professor Rodney Schmidt for the UN University.

A successful precedent has been set by UNITAID, which taxes airline tickets to fund treatments for HIV, TB and malaria. UNITAID is supported by 29 countries and exemplifies the use of nationally collected tax revenue, pooled internationally, and spent on a global public good.

“There is no doubt that this levy is feasible,” said Caroline Halmshaw, Head of Policy for the Alliance. “The greatest barrier is political will.

“The financial crisis provides an opportunity to re-examine the rules, regulations and boundaries of the banking industry. And as the credit crunch exacerbates the health challenges of developing countries, the need for sustainable financing has never been greater. We urge ministers to create a CTL to provide that funding and save lives.”