Tuesday, 16 March 2010

The issue with Vulture Funds

Today I have written to Harriet Harmon urging her on behalf of the Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland to give Government time to the Debt Relief (Developing Countries) Bill on Thursday 18 March. It is currently listed under 'remaining orders of the day' and is highly unlikely to be passed. I believe that her intervention is needed to make official Government time for it instead.

The trouble with vulture funds is that they are intrinsically exploitative and contribute to making poor countries even poorer. Heather Stuart from The Guardian explained it brilliantly “They buy the debts of poor countries, usually at a sizeable discount, wait until the government has received debt relief from foreign creditors, and then pursue their share of the debt in courts around the world.”

It is disappointing that a Conservative MP blocked the Debt Relief (Developing Countries) Bill on its third reading in Parliament on 12 March. However, George Osborne has stated that "The Conservative frontbench did not object to further progress of the Debt Relief Bill on Friday 12 March 2010, nor in any way collude with the objection. The Bill is due to be debated this Thursday and we are willing to co-operate with the Government to allow this Bill to progress on that day."

The Government still has the power to prevent the Bill from dying. I do hope that necessary actions be taken to ensure vulture funds are no longer able to prey on the world's poor.

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