Concern over fundamental change to UK Export Finance

By agency reporter
March 19, 2014

Reacting to George Osborne's announcement in the budget that there will be a fundamental change to UK Export Finance, including a doubling of direct lending and lowering of interest rates on offer, Tim Jones, policy officer at Jubilee Debt Campaign, has raised a range of concerns.

"UK Export Finance has a track record of funding dodgy deals which undermine human rights and leave a legacy of unjust debts. It only assesses the human rights and debt impacts of three per cent of the loans it backs," he said.

"Major changes are needed to Vince Cable's department to make sure any increase in lending does not harm people and create new unjust debts."

Projects UK Export Finance has funded include:

* Backing loans to the heavily indebted government of Jamaica for bridges, where the British company involved later admitted to corruption in securing the contract.

* Backing loans for arms sales to dictators of many countries, including Iraq, Indonesia, Kenya, Egypt, Ecuador, Argentina, Saudi Arabia and Oman.

* Backing loans for the Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan pipeline, despite the violation of 170 human rights and environmental safeguards

* Backing exports to the Indonesian government for spying equipment, and Pakistan government for military hovercrafts, without conducting any assessment of the human rights impacts.

Jubilee Debt Campaign, which is supported by Ekklesia, is part of a global movement demanding freedom from the slavery of unjust debts and a new financial system that puts people first.

* Jubilee Debt Campaign:

* Ekklesia's 2014 Budget coverage:

* On Twitter, follow the hashtag: #Budget2014


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