Steve backs campaign against transfer tax rip-off
Labour MP Tessa Jowell has launched a campaign to stop money transfer companies creaming off up to 20% of funds sent to friends and family overseas. Many people living in Croydon North send money overseas, and often this is used for essentials like educating a child or paying for an elderly relative’s hospital bills. But the international money transfer giants often charge rip-off fees of up to £1 for every £5 sent.
People transferring money often have little choice but to pay these extortionate charges – with the problem particularly acute when sending money to sub-Saharan Africa. It is essentially a ‘transfer tax’ levied on payments to support family or friends overseas. But now Labour’s Tessa Jowell has launched a campaign at www.stopthetransfertax.com to bring this exploitation to an end.
The majority of people transferring money abroad are members of established communities who maintain a strong link with relatives abroad. Many are themselves in low-paid work, and work extra hours to save enough to be able to send money overseas – only to be hit by a double whammy as sending smaller sums often results in even higher charge rates.
In 2009 the world’s 20 most powerful nations agreed that fees should be capped at a maximum of 5%. But charges have actually risen since then – the global average charge is still at 7%, with average fees for sending cash from the UK to sub-Saharan Africa running at a massive 12%. Some people are charged as much as 20%.
Croydon North MP Steve Reed said: “It’s fantastic that Labour’s Tessa Jowell has launched this new campaign. So many people living in our community are affected by rip-off charges when they send money abroad. The big international money transfer companies should immediately halve their fees in the run-up to Christmas as a stepping stone to finding a long term solution to bringing charges down to acceptable levels. I hope people will join me in signing the online petition at www.stopthetransfertax.com and urge their family and friends to do the same.”