‘George Osborne is under fire for an “outrageous misuse” of public money after spending nearly £200,000 trying to protect bankers from a raft of European Union measures.
Following a Freedom of Information Request by the Huffington Post UK, the Treasury revealed that it spent £67,808 on legal fees in a failed bid to fight the implementation of the Financial Transaction Tax (FTT), better known as the “Robin Hood Tax”, through the courts.
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The UK argued that the tax, which has been agreed by 11 eurozone member states, would put the competitiveness of the City of London at risk. However, the bid was thrown out by the European Court of Justice in April.
The cost of the UK’s failed legal bid against the Robin Hood Tax, on top of the £20,289.60 so far disclosed spent on fighting an EU cap on bankers’ bonuses and over £107,000 spent fighting EU rules on short-selling and clearing houses, brings the total bill to £195,675.60.
Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress, told HuffPostUK: “George Osborne has used taxpayers’ money to stop those same taxpayers’ getting a fair deal out of the top bankers in the City.
“It’s an outrageous misuse of our hard-earned cash, and all to protect people who are rich enough to fight their own legal battles. It would have been worse if he’d won, but losing means it was a complete and utter waste of public money.”
David Hillman, spokesperson for the Robin Hood Tax campaign, said: “It is a severe case of misplaced priorities that the Treasury has forked out taxpayers cash in a futile bid to protect its friends in the City.’