The Jubilee Debt Campaign was one of the best and most successful campaigns I have seen. The campaign nearly twenty years ago called for the relief of international debt which was holding back the development of some of the poorest countries in the world. I am particularly proud that some of my constituents were at the forefront of that campaign. As with many problems it’s often premature to assume the job was done and would not return.
Last week I attended the parliamentary launch of a new report by Christian Aid and the Jubilee Debt campaign. In their report they say that since the banking crash, for some countries debt repayments have spiralled and threaten not only economic development but spending on the basics like clean water, sanitation and health. As well as highlighting the need for renewed action the report also calls for greater transparency, limits on exploitative private sector actors and more effective global institutions responsible for managing debt.
Since the banking crisis in 2008 there has been a growth in irresponsible lending to countries in the global south. According to campaigners 31 countries are in debt crisis and the number is rising fast. The UK unfortunately is playing a part in secret loans in part using vulture funds. The current Chancellor, as Gordon Brown did, should put the UK at the forefront of the campaign starting with action to alleviate countries hit by disaster and humanitarian crisis.