More countries face debt crisis

The Jubilee Debt campaign was one of the best and most successful campaigns I have seen.

By Alan Campbell, MP for Tynemouth
Thursday, 23 May, 2019, 16:18
Alan Campbell officially opening the new Spanish City plaza. He is joined by musicians, dancers from Dance Kalidescope and the Harmony Group singing. GM037288

The campaign, nearly 22 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 in London I attended the parliamentary launch of a report by Christian Aid and the Jubilee Debt campaign.

In it 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 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 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 crisis.