Christian Aid calls on UK Government to adopt Labour's proposal on global debt crisis

By agency reporter
June 7, 2019

Christian Aid has welcomed the UK Labour party’s announcement of plans for an Overseas Loan Transparency Act which will establish a new compulsory register of overseas loans.
 
The proposed new Act would require all lenders from the UK to disclose loans to foreign governments, and was announced ahead of the G20 Finance Ministers meeting this weekend.
 
Christian Aid's Head of UK Advocacy Tom Viita said: “There are now 31 countries in debt crisis, making this a global problem which needs international solutions from the G20, but the G20 must not be a group to hide behind.
 
“The vast majority of international loans in Africa are made under English law because it allows a cloak of secrecy over lending, so the buck stops with the UK Parliament to bring real transparency or continue to allow unjust debt to cripple developing countries.
 
“Labour’s welcome move piles yet more pressure on the UK Government to close these secrecy loopholes. We urge the Government to close the loopholes that allow secret loans and shut down the predatory vulture funds operating in the City of London.”
 
Labour’s move comes after Christian Aid last month called on the UK to step up and meet its moral responsibility to avert debt crises in developing countries that are often struggling to recover in the wake of humanitarian emergencies
 
In a Christian Aid report, The New Global Debt Crisis – published in collaboration with the Jubilee Debt Campaign – the international development organisation urged the UK Government to end its complicity in exacerbating the already desperate situations faced by some of the world’s poorest countries.

Sarah-Jayne Clifton, Director of Jubilee Debt Campaign said: “Jubilee Debt Campaign warmly welcomes Labour’s proposal to increase the transparency of loans to governments. If implemented, this would be a key move in tackling the secret loans that are helping to push impoverished countries into debt crisis. Public disclosure of loans is a vital step to enable media, parliaments and civil society to hold lenders and borrowers to account on how public money is spent. Making them transparent is a no-brainer, and it’s great to see the Labour Party stepping up to the plate on this. There is growing cross-party consensus. We now need the Government itself to step up and act.“

In April Jubilee Debt Campaign launched a briefing with 43 civil society organisations on how to increase the transparency of loans to governments, titled: Transparency of loans to governments: The public’s right to know about their debts.

Last week 51 UK MPs, from every party in parliament, wrote to the Chancellor calling for concrete measures to increase the transparency of loans to governments.

The G20 Finance Ministers will be discussing debt transparency and sustainability at their meetings in Tokyo on 8-9 June 2019. The global banking body, the Institute of International Finance, are currently consulting on voluntary principles on publicly disclosing information on loans to impoverished country governments.

* Read The New Global Debt Crisis here

* Read  Transparency of loans to governments: The public’s right to know about their debts here

* Christian Aid https://www.christianaid.org.uk/

* Jubilee Debt Campaign https://jubileedebt.org.uk/

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