Vulture Funds Bill enters Parliament
The Debt Relief (Developing Countries) Bill was presented to Parliament on 16 December. It aims to protect the 40 countries that qualify for international debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries initiative from so-called Vulture Funds. The Bill will seek to make sure that creditors cannot pursue payment beyond the level assessed as sustainable by the IMF and World Bank.
Mr Gwynne came third in this year’s Private Members’ Ballot which offers a handful of MPs the opportunity to introduce legislation into Parliament.
Andrew Gwynne MP for Denton and Reddich said:
“This Bill would represent a major step forward in tackling these funds. It cannot be right that companies are allowed, in British courts, to make profits out of the world's poorest people. In some of the very poorest countries almost half the population lives on just under a dollar a day.”
“I propose to heavily restrict the actions of creditors that do not participate in debt relief, dealing with the so-called “Vulture Funds.” For too long, some companies have been allowed to get away with exploiting the debt relief received by developing countries for their own profit; taking vital resources away from those that need it most. Through my Private Members Bill I aim to put a stop to it.”
Nick Dearden, Director of Jubilee Debt Campaign, said:
“We are delighted that Andrew has decided to put down a bill to stop this outrageous practice. As the case of Liberia showed last month, some of the world’s poorest countries are being forced to pay millions of dollars to wealthy, non-taxpaying investors, through British courts. Andrew’s Bill will provide a real possibility of bringing this practice to an end.”
Ian Pearson MP, Economic Secretary to the Treasury said:
“I fully support Andrew Gwynne’s decision to use this Private Member’s Bill to tackle so-called vulture funds, ensuring that the world’s poor see the full benefits of debt relief. This Bill will allow poorer countries to spend more on the schools, hospitals and other vital services that are so needed to make sure that they continue to support their populations.”
Having passed the formality of the first stage, the next step for the bill is a Second Reading, when the proposal will be brought into full debate to allow MPs to discuss the issues being raised in more detail. This will take place on 26 February after the full bill has been published.
The Bill was supported by a cross-party group of MPs, including: Sally Keeble MP, Anne Snelgrove MP, David Drew MP, Sir Gerald Kaufman MP, Andy Reed MP, Hilary Armstrong MP, Peter Lilley MP, Peter Bottomley MP, Anne Main MP, Andrew Stunell MP and Tom Brake MP.
At this critical stage for our End the Vulture Culture campaign we are calling on all our supporters to urge their MPs to support the bill and attend its Second Reading on 26 February. To pass the next hurdle the bill needs the backing of 100 MPs, so pressure from constituents is vital to ensure it becomes law in the future.