Nigel Adams MP (Con, Selby and Ainsty) today backed the TaxPayers' Alliance (TPA) campaign and used Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs) to call for the British Government to oppose any further World Bank loans to Argentina. Pressure is building for David Cameron to act, as Andrew Rosindell MP (Con, Romford) tabled an Early Day Motion (EDM) on those loans in Parliament and a public petition gathered thousands of signatures in its first few days.
Major loans to Argentina are underwritten with British taxpayers’ money. Total outstanding loans to Argentina from the World Bank and its affiliates were $16.2 billion at March 2012. That means Britain’s share of the outstanding loans was over £225 million, based on our shareholding in the two World Bank institutions lending to the country. This is despite recent attacks from the Argentinian government on British interests, including advocating a boycott of British goods and disputing the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands.
The TPA is leading a campaign on the issue and has placed an e-petition on the UK Government's official website. Like any e-petition on that site, if it gets at least 100,000 signatures it will be debated in the House of Commons. The TPA also recently published new research looking at the scale of the funding.
The full text of Nigel Adams MP's question:
“As we remember those who fell 30 years ago during the Falklands war, Argentina continues to dispute sovereignty over those islands. Yet Argentina also continues to receive loans worth billions of pounds from the World Bank, of which British taxpayers are a major shareholder. Will the PM join President Obama in instructing his officials to vote against any more such loans to Argentina.”
Matthew Sinclair, Director of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said:
"Argentina is repeatedly attacking Britain's interests and the right of Falkland Islanders to remain British, a right which, thirty years ago, two hundred and fifty five British servicemen died to defend. It is incredible that the Government haven't already announced a clear policy of backing the Obama Administration and voting against Argentina getting any more World Bank loans on top of the billions they have already received. Nigel Adams MP has done taxpayers who don't want to see their money used that way a favour by raising the issue at Prime Ministers' Questions. It is good that the Prime Minister understands the seriousness of this issue, but unfortunately he is still reading from the disingenuous script that says because DFID isn't giving specific money for specific projects in Argentina we somehow have less of a stake in World Bank lending. In reality, Britain supports all of those loans as a major shareholder and that’s why we have votes that could be used to oppose further loans to a country that doesn’t deserve them. Hopefully the Government will take a stand and do that."