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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Alliance welcomes the news of UK Prime Minister’s support for a banking tax for development


Aids Alliance

UK Prime Minster Gordon Brown made a surprise announcement this weekend at the G20 Finance Ministers meeting in support of a financial transaction tax that would raise funds for development.

The Alliance welcomes the news as we have been advocating for a currency transaction levy (CTL) over the last year, to raise much needed additional funds for health programming in developing countries. A CTL alone would harness some of the vast wealth of the foreign exchange market through a small levy of 0.005% on foreign exchange currency transactions.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has estimated an additional $251 billion is needed to strengthen health systems in 49 low-income countries, averting around 23 million deaths between 2009 and 2015.

Anton Kerr, Alliance Policy Manager said, “We are delighted to hear Gordon Brown is supporting a Financial Transaction Tax. He joins French President Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in his support. These leaders recognise that we need a financial system that will support those who have suffered most throughout this global economic crisis in some of the poorest countries in the world.”

The news comes at a time when a new WHO report launched today highlights that the leading cause of death among women of reproductive age is HIV. There are still two thirds of the people around the world who need anti-retroviral therapy, unable to access it.

“The global credit crunch has hit those who are poorest, hardest,” said Kerr. “In Uganda for example we are hearing from our partners that people providing ARV treatments are no longer taking on any new patients. The situation is urgent.

With the current levels of investment the Millennium Development Goal for Universal Access on HIV treatment, care and prevention will not be met. A serious level of additional investment is needed.

Brown’s announcement is a significant step in making the reality of a currency transaction levy for health possible.

“What once seemed impossible has now taken a step further to becoming a reality. We are pleased to see Brown give this leadership and to show that he understands the needs of those unable to access health services in low income countries,” commented Kerr.

    The global credit crunch has hit those who are poorest, hardest.