Just over a month ago, after increasingly aggressive statements about the Falklands made by Argentine president Cristina Kirchner, Derek Twigg MP asked the Secretary of State for International Development the following question in Parliament:
“… how many loans under both the simplified and non-simplified procedures have been submitted to the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development board since September 2011 related to projects in Argentina; and on what dates any such loans were made.”
The reply was that:
“DFID does not maintain an aid programme to Argentina and no UK aid is spent providing loans to Argentina at the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD).”
While it is true that DfID is not directly giving any British taxpayers’ money to Argentina, that very misleading statement is not the whole story.
British taxpayers' money is supporting loans to Argentina on a substantial scale, over £225m, via the World Bank. That’s despite the fact that Argentina has been increasingly aggressively threatening the right of people in the Falkland Islands to remain British and recently pushed for a boycott of British goods.
When Priti Patel MP asked about the government’s policy on future votes at the World Bank on loans to Argentina, she was told Britain would assess each project on its own merits and the context of each individual loan.
That just isn’t good enough when Falklands war vets like Simon Weston have rightly warned that: “We should not hand money to a potential enemy” and when the US is already routinely using their position as a major shareholder in the World Bank to vote against further programmes in Argentina. Britain is a major shareholder in the World Bank too and our government should follow the Obama administration’s example. British taxpayers’ money shouldn’t be supporting loans to an Argentinian government that returns the favour with nothing but abuse.
If you want the British government to ensure taxpayers’ money isn’t backing loans to Argentina from the World Bank please sign our petition and share it with your friends: www.StopFundingArgentina.org
Emma Boon is the campaign director of the TaxPayers' Alliance