No more VAT, but more bank tax please

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From the Guardian, today, this call for no VAT increase and an ambitious programme for the banks to pay more tax:

As economists we are concerned that the much-discussed rise in VAT (Report, 18 June) would hit the lowest earners hardest. Deep public sector cuts threaten frontline services and risk dampening demand. Abroad, the poorest countries are facing a major hole in their finances because of a financial crisis they did nothing to cause. Yet the banking sector, since precipitating the largest recession in a generation, remains the most profitable industry in the world. Global profits this year are expected to be well over £400bn.

In the emergency budget on 22 June we call on the government to live up to its progressive rhetoric by announcing an ambitious tax on the financial sector that could raise tens of billions to help reduce the UK's unprecedented deficit, protect the poorest and fight climate change.

The letter was signed by:

Stephany Griffith-Jones, Financial Markets Director, Initiative for Policy Dialogue, Columbia University

Prem Sikka, Professor of Accounting, Centre for Global Accounting, Essex Business School

Dr Jan Toporowski, Department of Economics, SOAS

Ronald L. Martin, Professor of Economic Geography, Cambridge-MIT Institute Research Associate, University of Cambridge

Ian Gough, Professorial Research Fellow, LSE and Emeritus Professorof Social Policy, University of Bath

Richard J. Smith, Professor of Econometric Theory and EconomicStatistics, University of Cambridge

Barbara Harriss-White, Professor of Development Economics, Oxford University

Sheila Dow, Professor Emeritus in Economics, University of Stirling

Geoffrey Hodgson, Research Professor, University of Hertfordshire

Stuart Holland, Visiting Professor, Faculty of Economics, University ofCoimbra

John Weeks, Professor Emeritus, University of London

Dr Alberto Paloni, Head of Economics Department, University of Glasgow

Sushama Murty, Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, University of Warwick

Richard Murphy, Director, Tax Research UK

Simon Mohun, School of Business and Management, Queen Mary, University of London

Dennis Leech, Professor of Economics, University of Warwick

Dr Jamie Gough, Senior Lecturer, Sheffield University

Grazia Letto-Gillies, Emeritus Professor of Applied Economics, Director, Centre for International Business Studies, London South Bank University

Tony Thirlwall, Professor of Applied Economics, Keynes College, University of Kent

Dr Pritam Singh, Senior Lecturer of Economics, Oxford Brookes University

Dr Nitasha Kaul, Visiting Fellow, Centre for the Study of Democracy and formerly Lecturer in Economics

Philip J Whyman, Professor of Economics, University of Lancashire

Roberto Veneziani, Senior Lecturer, Queen Mary, University of London

Dr Colin Richardson, Internet Economics Consultant, Imperial College London

Howard Reed, Director, Landman Economics

Judith Metha, Research Co-ordinator, ESRC Centre for Competition Policy, University of East Anglia

Stephen Spratt, Head, Sustainable Markets Group, IIED

Dr Roberto Simonetti, Senior Lecturer in Economics, Open University

Alan Freeman, Association for Heterodox Economics

Christophe Edwards, Senior Fellow, University of East Anglia

Dr Jerome De Henau, Lecturer in Economics, Faculty of Social Sciences, Open University

John Christensen, Director and Economist, Tax Justice Network International Secretariat, London

Michael Burke, Economic Consultant

Dr Jonathan Aldred, Newton Trust Lecturer