Sunday, 1 February 2015

Jubilee Debt Meeting last week in the House of Commons

Last Wednesday I was pleased to go to a Jubilee Debt meeting with Tim Jones, various academics including the legendary Dr David Golding, a group of activists and two Labour MPs.
As always, the conversation and discussion was fascinating. We discussed international aid, the tricky issue of grants and loans and the ways in which the UK government, whilst aiding others, can do so whilst keeping the support of the rest of the UK people. I support international aid wholeheartedly: but I have to accept that this is a tough sell to many people, including many of my constituents. We need to explain and sell the good we are doing in a better way.

One key issue was this:
Should we be granting Debt Write Offs to, for example, the European Countries like Greece and Portugal who have spent too much, borrowed too much and not changed their cultures or accountancy skills? This will be a key part of the future JD  manifesto.

I questioned at last Wednesdays meeting why anyone would ever trust the Greeks to repay money again, but there is evidence clearly to suggest this could and would happen, in some circumstances. It would have an unwanted effect here as some of our banks, including the ones owned by the public have exposure and expect repayments from these countries. They would lose out. More importantly Mrs Merkel's view is that further Greek debt write off - and this after massive previous bail outs - would bring down the rest of Europe. Thus the debate about Greek debt write offs and the consequences will run and run in my view. Thoughts?

The picture is from the Jubilee Debt campaign we ran in November 2012. See here for more details: