Labour promises manifesto commitment to 'vulture funds' bill

Labour promises manifesto commitment to 'vulture funds' bill

By staff writers
29 Mar 2010

Campaigners have welcomed the news that the Labour Party will make a manifesto commitment to anti-poverty legislation and are calling on other parties to follow their lead.

Jubilee Debt Campaign welcomed the announcement on Friday evening that a Labour Government would legislate on vulture funds after the General Election.

Vulture funds are investment companies which buy up the defaulted debts of poor countries extremely cheaply and then sue for full, immediate repayment with steep levels of interest and penalty charges. They can make enormous profits from taking money out of the economies of very poor countries - money which has often been freed up by debt cancellation.

A Private Member's Bill tabled by Andrew Gwynne MP earlier this year, would have introduced legislation to prohibit vulture activity against the poorest countries in the world. But despite support from the Government and MPs of all parties, the bill was blocked at Third Reading by a backbench Conservative MP two weeks ago, who refused to identify himself. Campaigners believe it was Christopher Chope MP.

Last week the President of Guyana released a statement in support of the bill. The President of Liberia and Archbishop Desmond Tutu have supported the bill.

Conservative leader David Cameron, who had previously opposed the bill, has indicated that his front bench now supports such measures.

Nick Dearden, Director of Jubilee Debt Campaign said: "We are delighted that the Government has agreed to support this vital legislation in their manifesto. Legislation would ensure that British courts could never again be used to help unscrupulous companies profit from the misery of the poorest people in the world. There is now no excuse for the opposition parties not matching the Government's promise and including anti-vulture legislation amongst their own manifesto commitments."

[Ekk/2]

Keywords: vulture funds
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