Latest news on our campaign to end Britain's dodgy deals.
10 April 2012 - Media covers Falklands debt revelations
The story that the UK lent Argentina money for weapons used to invade the Falklands has been picked up by a number of media outlets. Here's a selection:
- Financial Times - UK seeks repayment of Falklands era loan
- Daily Telegraph - Argentina told it must pay back £45 million UK loans that were partly used to fund Falklands invasion
- Daily Mail - Britain demands repayment of £45m lent to Argentina before Falklands invasion
- Daily Express - UK demands £45m 'war' debt from Argentina
- The Sun - Argie debt row
- The Huffington Post - Argentina 'Must Pay Back' £45m Arms Loan Used To Fund Falklands Invasion
- Ekklesia - Argentina still owes UK government for Falklands arms sales
Plus Nick Dearden our Director has done an article for the New Statesman.
9 April 2012 - Argentina still 'owes' UK for Falklands arms
We've released documents showing that Argentina still 'owes' the UK £45m for arms sales to the military junta in the years leading up to the Falklands War. The UK knew Argentina might invade the Falklands, and the regime had a 'worse' human rights record than Pinochet's Chile, but it backed the dodgy deals anyway. More >>
3 April 2012 - Egyptian government considers IMF loan
The Egyptian government is considering taking a loan for $3 billion; roughly the same amount the North African country will spend in foreign debt repayments this year. More >>
12 March 2012 - Lib Dems urged to reveal 'Skeletons in Cupboard'
Delegates to the Liberal Democrat Spring Conference on Tyneside on Saturday were surprised to be confronted with 'Drop the Debt' campaigners dressed as skeletons. More >>
We've also launched a new open letter to Vince Cable and Nick Clegg for Liberal Democrats to sign >>
5 January 2012 - Vince Cable releases new information on Egypt's debt
Vince Cable has responded to the Halloween demonstration outside his office, which called for a debt audit of debts owed to UK Export Finance, by releasing new information on the origin of Egypt's debt to the UK. His department had previously claimed that the details of how the debt was run up were no longer available.
30 November 2011 - Details of Zimbabwe's $7bn debt revealed for first time
Newly uncovered documents reveal that Zimbabwe’s £210 million debt to the UK includes loans from Tony Blair’s government to Zimbabwe’s police force while they were engaged in internal repression.
11 November 2011 - Government shuns Dodgy Deals bill despite MP support
Despite mounting pressure for action on the UK’s dodgy deals, the second reading of Lisa Nandy MP's ECGD reform bill was not heard in the Parliament today.
1 November 2011 - Halloween protest exposes skeletons in thecupboard
On Monday, campaigners from around the country took part in a creative, Halloween-themed, protest outside the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to call for an immediate audit of ‘Dictator Debts’ and the cancellation of those which are found to be unjust. Demonstrators handed in more than three thousand more postcards calling for Vince Cable to take action.
23 September 2011 - UK considering loan to indebted Sri Lanka
The UK government’s Export Credits Guarantee Department is considering whether to guarantee a bank loan of around US$50 million to the Sri Lankan government. The loan would be used to pay Cleveland Bridges – owned by Al-Rushaid of Saudi Arabia – to build bridges in the South Asian country.
29 August 2011 - Tim Jones blogs from Zimbabwe
Jubilee Debt Campaign's Tim Jones is blogging during his visit to Zimbabwe, where he has joined a meeting of civil society groups discussing Zimbabwe's debt.
28 July 2011 - UK loses Zimbabwe payment record
Tim Jones' blog on the government not knowing how much debt it is owed, why it is owed the debt or how much it has been repaid.
6 July 2011 - Hundreds take on Dodgy Dealers at Glastonbury
2011 was another fantastic year at Glastonbury for JDC. This year we were talking to festivalgoers about our Dodgy Deals Campaign which calls for the reform of the government’s shady Export Credits Guarantee Department (ECGD) - responsible for over 90% of the debt still owed to the UK by developing countries.
29 June 2011 - Dodgy deals continue
UK government gives financial guarantee to exports for use in a Chinese nuclear power plant without doing an assessment of the environmental impact.
27 April 2011 - MPs back overhaul of Vince Cable department
Pressure is mounting on the Government to overhaul the Export Credits Guarantee Department (ECGD) after MPs voted today for a crackdown on its "secretive and unaccountable" operations.
5 April 2011 - Campaign success in the European Parliament
The European Parliament has agreed an important policy which would improve the impact of export credit agencies across the EU. The policy, proposed by the Trade Committee (known as INTA) will, if agreed by the Council of Ministers, force EU countries to report once a year to show that their export credit policies are guided by “environmental and social issues, human rights, sustainable lending and anti-bribery”.
9 March 2011 - Campaign success in the BP oil pipeline case
An ECGD-backed project has been found guilty of contravening human rights regulations. Eight years after making an official complaint, environmental and human rights groups, including Jubilee Debt Campaign, have welcomed the UK government's ruling to censure BP for violating human rights rules in the controversial Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline project.
This 1,760 kilometre-long oil pipeline runs through Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey was built by a BP-led consortium. Almost 70% of the BTC costs were funded by international institutions or public money, including backing by Britain's ECGD. The UK government has recognisesd that despite campaigners' warnings about the risk of local communities being intimidated by state security forces in Turkey, BP failed to safeguard against this.
BP now has three months to review and report on what it can do to strengthen its procedures to address these failings.
1 March 2011 - Protest held outside global trade conference
Today activists from Jubilee Debt Campaign dressed up as ‘French maids' and protested outside a global trade conference, telling governments to clean up their exports.
The summit of export credit agencies and traders was held at the Hilton hotel in central London, with speakers including the ECGD's David Craig, and the OECD's Chairman of the Export Credit Group, Francois de Ricolfis.
Lax international trading standards mean that government export credit agencies across the world are using public money to back private business deals which fuel human rights abuses, environmental destruction, corruption and poverty.
We don't think governments should be using taxpayers' money to back deals as dirty as this. So we went along to do a little spring cleaning......
1 March 2011 - Answer the question!
Helen Goodman MP raised the ECGD in a question to the Prime Minister yesterday. We're not sure she got an answer - see what you think:
Helen Goodman (Bishop Auckland) (Lab): Before the Prime Minister takes too many cosy trips down memory lane with Sir John Major, perhaps he will recall that the arms that were exported to Iraq under the last Tory Administration were never paid for. As part of his review, will he look into the role that the Export Credits Guarantee Department played in providing cover for arms sales to unstable countries?
The Prime Minister: The trip down memory lane that I was taking was to Kuwait with John Major to celebrate the fact that 20 years ago this country played a part in an international coalition to bring about its liberation. Kuwait is not a democracy like us, but it has a Parliament and is taking steps to greater openness. Should we have a close relationship with such countries? I say yes, we should.
31 January 2011 - European Parliament supports more accountable exports
Exports are being seen by European policy-makers as a critical means of resuscitating their crisis-hit economies. But without proper safeguards, campaigners fear state support for exports could lead to serious harm of people and the natural environments they depend on in the developing world.
Against this background, a recent proposal from the European Parliament's Trade Committee could be crucial in making sure recovery in Europe doesn't come at the expense of people and planet elsewhere. More > >
13 January 2011 - £1 billion of debt cancellation to count as aid
UK Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell has said debt cancellation, primarily by the UK’s Export Credit Guarantees Department, will be counted as aid over the next four years. This is expected to inflate the amount of aid the government says it gives by £1 billion.
7 January 2011 - New Minister for Dodgy Deals
Responsibility for the Department for Dodgy Deals is to pass to a new member of the House of Lords. Former HSBC Chair Stephen (now Lord) Green is the new Trade Minister with responsibility for the ECGD. This is an unsurprising turn given that unelected Lords have regularly had responsibility for the department over the last 15 years.
However, it might not be all bad news - today the Telegraph reports that Stephen Green, an ordained Anglican Priest, is refusing to take on the role of promoting British arms. This contradicts Government policy of giving more ministerial support to drive arms exports. Although the remit is likely to move elsewhere, it would be nice to see some of Lord Green's ethics over arms translate into a long overdue prohibition on taxpayer support for arms sales to developing countries.
3 December 2010 - 100th MP signs Early Day Motion 622
One hundred MPs from across the parties have now signed the Early Day Motion (EDM) this is a significant milestone especially as cabinet ministers, shadow cabinet ministers and whips cannot sign EDMs.
5 November 2010 - Richmond JDC deliver postcards to Vince Cable
Activists from Richmond JDC visited Vince Cable in his constituency surgery and delivered more than five thousand signed postcards which we had been unable to get to him at his ministry.
24 September 2010 - ECGD on list of quangos under review
The Telegraph and the BBC are reporting that the ECGD is on a list of up to 100 government 'quangos' whose future existence is under review. Some 200 are already to be scrapped, it's reported. While this could be good news for the Dodgy Deals campaign, a privatised ECGD which still relies on the government as an underwriter of last resort could be even worse. Read our press release >>
13 August 2010 - Dodgy Dealers protest outside Cable's office
Jubilee Debt Campaigners, disguised as dodgy dealers, took the campaign to the heart of Westminster with a demonstration outside Vince Cable’s office the Department for Business Innovation & Skills (BIS). Full story >>
27 July 2010 - MPs call for ECGD rethink
A cross-party group of MPs has signed Early Day Motion 622 in Parliament calling for a rethink of the Export Credits Guarantee Departmen. The full text reads:
That this House believes that the Export Credits Guarantee Department (ECGD) should take account of factors beyond the purely financial when deciding on the merits of export credits; is concerned that some cases are now exempt from environmental, human rights and social impact assessment and that, in practice, the absolute ban on child and forced labour has been removed; expresses regret that many developing countries are still paying off large debts for projects that were of no benefit to recipients or which fostered corruption; recognises that the ECGD could stimulate the positive export of green and pro-poor technologies and services; and urges the Government to conduct a thorough review of the ECGD, audit all outstanding ECGD debts, support the adoption and enforcement of stronger impact standards and to prevent the ECGD supporting projects that do not add value to recipient countries or contribute to poverty reduction or social and human development.
Parliament is now on its summer recess, but we'll be doing a big push on getting further MPs to sign up in the autumn.
21 July 2010 - Business Committee announce ECGD review
We've just heard that the new Business Committee has announced an inquiry into 'Government Assistance to Industry', a key element of which will be investigating the ECGD. This is fantastic news and I think we can call it our first campaign success. We will be submitting evidence to the inquiry over the Summer. More >>
19 July 2010 - Manchester JDC pics
Manchester JDC have been busy getting the Dodgy Deals campaign out on the streets at the EXODUS Festival in Albert Square.
Stephen Pennells writes:
Another rainy stall in the scorching summer! Cllr. Afzal Khan supported Make Poverty History energetically when Lord Mayor and didn't take a lot of convincing to support End Dodgy Deals.
13 July 2010 - Business Select Committee announced
The new membership of the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee has been announced. This Committee will be crucial for our Dodgy Deals campaign, so if any of these MPs are your MP, please get in touch:
- Chair: Mr Adrian Bailey MP (Lab) (West Bromwich West)
- Luciana Berger (Lab) (Liverpool, Wavertree)
- Mr Brian Binley (Con) (Northampton South)
- Jack Dromey (Lab) (Birmingham, Erdington)
- Rebecca Harris (Con) (Castle Point)
- Margot James (Con) (Stourbridge)
- Nicky Morgan (Con) (Loughborough)
- Chi Onwurah (Lab) (Newcastle upon Tyne Central)
- Rachel Reeves (Lab) (Leeds West)
- Mr David Ward (Lib Dem) (Bradford East)
- Nadhim Zahawi (Con) (Stratford upon Avon)
Email us via . If you're not sure who your MP is, look them up here: http://www.theyworkforyou.com.
12 July 2010 - ECGD chief paid £205k
Details of QUANGO executive remunerations have been released, showing that the Chief Executive of the Export Credits Guarantee Department, Patrick Crawford, is paid £205,000 – £209,999 per year. Full story >>
30 June 2010 - ECGD supported offshore oil drilling
The Guardian has reported that the ECGD is supporting "one of the world's largest and riskiest oil-drilling projects in the Atlantic Ocean and would be liable for tens of millions of pounds if a major accident took place". The project is deeper than BP's Deepwater rig that exploded in April and is causing devastation in the Gulf of Mexico. Moreover, the environmental report on the Brazilian project doesn't mention the possibility of a 'BP-style' explosion.