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Oxfam settle Somerset ‘Robin Hood’ row in court

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: October 28, 2011

Retired bank clerk Barry Nowlan at Taunton County Court after protesting about Oxfam’s campaign

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A retired bank clerk’s disagreement with Oxfam, which saw him banned from one of the charity’s shops has ended amicably, in court.

Barry Nowlan, 63, of Taunton, was banned from Oxfam’s shop at The Bridge, after he complained about a poster which highlighted the charity’s call for a ‘Robin Hood’ tax on banks and financial institutions.

Earlier this month Oxfam said Mr Nowlan had caused: “great distress” and accused him of “harassing volunteers.”

He denied the claims but admitted that he had entered the shop after being sent a letter banning him.

Mr Nowlan argued that Oxfam’s campaign was political, and that an extra tax on banks would hit ordinary shareholders and bank pensioners. Oxfam said it was seeking an injunction against Mr Nowlan as a “last resort” to keep him away from the shop. He denied that he had harassed anyone or been discourteous.

A hearing was held in private at Taunton County Court on Wednesday.

Afterwards Mr Nowlan said: “The matter has been settled between Oxfam and myself on a mutually satisfactory basis.”

Oxfam declined to comment on the court case, saying simply: “It is a private matter.”

Mr Nowlan was shocked when he saw the original poster in the charity’s shop window.

He and other Lloyds Bank employees had received shares in the company in the past which had fallen from a peak of £11 to 35p now.

The share dividends represented about one-third of his income and he was annoyed to see the charity call for action which could cause them to fall in future.

Oxfam says it is campaigning for a financial transaction tax on banks, because the global economic crisis has pushed 50 million more people into extreme poverty.

Its website states: “It’s simply not fair for poor people to pay the price of mistakes made by rich bankers, to die for lack of medicines or for their children to be forced out of school because of an economic crisis they did nothing to cause.

“That’s why Oxfam is campaigning for a financial transaction tax on banks.

“The ‘Robin Hood Tax’ is a tiny tax that would have a massive impact.

“It would raise enough money to help poor people, protect public services and tackle climate change at home and abroad.

“Oxfam, along with many partners, is working to make this tax happen. Politicians around the world are already beginning to consider it as a serious possibility, but we need to make sure the possibility becomes a reality.”

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  • Moon12  |  November 01 2011, 3:02PM

    b.nowlan says: global warming caused by humans? therefore to solve g.w. need fewer humans why is oxfam feeding the starving? they should not breed babies they cannot support Oxfam causes global warming feed one today, he breeds many more to be fed tomorrow then they breed Oxfam just creates problems then pretends it is solving them. Get real. How much is Barbara Stocking paid? March 18th, 2011 at 8.52 pm" As stated by idiot Nowlan on Oxfam's website. Shame on you if you applaud the views of this misguided quacking old haemorrrhoid.

  • Tedjn  |  October 29 2011, 2:47PM

    I stopped making donations to Oxfam when I read about their support for a Robin Hood Tax. I suggest others do the same and donate to charities that are not politically active. Bear in mind that Oxfam does not pay any tax unlike most of us, so they should be especially careful when advocating taxes on pensioners that have worked hard all of their lives to save for their retirement. When Oxfam stops campaigning for taxes on others I will donate again and visit their shops. As with most "stealth taxes", a Robin Hood Tax would hit the poorest most. Sweden already tried their own version of a Robin Hood Tax from 1984-90 and it was a disaster. In January, 1984, Sweden introduced a 0.5% tax on the purchase or sale of an equity security. Hence a round trip (purchase and sale) transaction resulted in a 1% tax. In July, 1986, the rate was doubled, and in January, 1989, a considerably lower tax of 0.002% on fixed-income securities was introduced for a security with a maturity of 90 days or less. On a bond with a maturity of five years or more, the tax was 0.003%. Analyst Marion G. Wrobel prepared a paper for Canadian Government in July, 2006, examining the international experience with financial transaction taxes, and paying particular attention to the Swedish experience. The revenues from taxes were disappointing; for example, revenues from the tax on fixed-income securities were initially expected to amount to 1,500 million Swedish kroner per year. They did not amount to more than 80 million Swedish kroner in any year and the average was closer to 50 million. In addition, as taxable trading volumes fell, so did revenues from capital gains taxes, entirely offsetting revenues from the equity transactions tax that had grown to 4,000 million Swedish kroner by 1988. On the day that the tax was announced, share prices fell by 2.2%. But there was leakage of information prior to the announcement, which might explain the 5.35% price decline in the 30 days prior to the announcement. When the tax was doubled, prices again fell by another 1%. These declines were in line with the capitalized value of future tax payments resulting from expected trades. It was further felt that the taxes on fixed-income securities only served to increase the cost of government borrowing, providing another argument against the tax. Even though the tax on fixed-income securities was much lower than that on equities, the impact on market trading was much more dramatic. During the first week of the tax, the volume of bond trading fell by 85%, even though the tax rate on five-year bonds was only 0.003%. The volume of futures trading fell by 98% and the options trading market disappeared. On 15 April 1990, the tax on fixed-income securities was abolished. In January 1991 the rates on the remaining taxes were cut in half and by the end of the year they were abolished completely. Once the taxes were eliminated, trading volumes returned and grew substantially in the 1990s. Well done Barry Nowlan for fighting back against Oxfam on behalf of pensioners.

  • Mint_Julip  |  October 29 2011, 3:27AM

    I followed this story with interest because we have a charity CEO in our country who enjoys a high income (with perks) yet advocates for this (internationally and economically discredited) tax that would severely damage pensions and filter through entire economies. The tax would not deliver any revenue, but it would ensure that millions of exponential job losses would severely diminish income tax receipts. It is just not possible to tax any business income that is taxed out of existence. So we educated ourselves on the tax and sympathise with Mr Nowlan's objections to a supposed charity pushing for something so potentially destructive. We hope this case didn't cost him any money. If the Oxfam accusations did cost Mr Nowlan money, then the charity concerned should be exposed in the public interest. The job of charities is to do only what they know best. Stay out of politics and high level economic issues. Every country has its own internal tax regime, and from what we learned, no-one outside basket case France and Germany would countenance such a tax. But even more sinister appears to be a plan for EU dictators to impose something on England's pensioners that would represent a financial invasion, without so much as taking a boat-ride across the Channel. There's a rather self-congratulatory little chap called Bono who goes around advocating this Oxfam tax. Now isn't he the little person who reportedly moved his own vast wealth to achieve more favourable tax liability? Yet he chums up to international politicians for foreign aid for over-populated countries where the money inevitably finishes up in the control of despotic regimes. Yet he has no insight as to how the rest of us disadvantaged by stealth tax? This little chap should read up on how the Oxfam robin hood tax really would work, and then he might see why it has been rejected by almost every country in the world. I applaud Mr Nowlan for standing up to Oxfam. We are recommending to all and sundry that they do not contribute to Oxfam or any of its associate charities - ever.

  • rhonn  |  October 28 2011, 7:53PM

    At least one man was brave enough to express his opinion for a short while. Nice publicity for 0xfam to promote a tax that marginally harms a few wealthy at the dire expense of millions of average citizens. Don't let these global taxes get started. The Robin Hood Tax or Financial Transaction Tax is the first of many global taxes. Those entities that promote it answer to no constituency, you can't vote them out and can't have this EU tax repealed once enacted and don't want it anymore. FTT creates poverty, job loss and actually results in national, net-negative tax revenue. Those that collect or distribute the FTT will have a good time though. That's why they want it. "The 'Robin Hood Tax' is a tiny tax that would have a massive impact." - The tax is not tiny and yes it would have a massive impact. The tax is actually greater than the potential of today's extremely low investment yields. The impact of the tax creates poverty. It does not alleviate it. The EU commission's impact study for the tax predicts a negative annual GDP loss of an incredible 1.8 percent over the long-term. Job losses range from 500,000 to 750,000 with two thirds of those losses not even in the financial sector so that will be many of us innocent bystanders. And that is just the beginning. Millions will lose their jobs as they have already stated they will raise this tax once enacted, as happens with all taxes once they get their foot in the door. FTT is a cascading tax. With millions unemployed, businesses will close creating further job loss.