By Matthew Barrett
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The TaxPayers' Alliance is launching a new campaign today calling for the Government to oppose further World Bank loans to Argentina. The campaign includes an e-petition and new research (pdf) looking at the scale of the funding – the TPA's findings show that taxpayers' money is supporting loans to Argentina worth over £225 million, despite Argentina advocating a boycott of British goods, and its hostile and belligerent attitude towards Britain's territory in the Falkland Islands. The TPA also argues that Argentina has no pressing humanitarian need for aid.
The TPA is also releasing the video below to highlight the petition:
TPA research shows that outstanding loans from World Bank institutions to Argentina were worth $16.2 billion in March this year. Based on Britain's shareholdings in the two responsible institutions, British taxpayers are responsible for more than £225 million in loans to Argentina. The TPA says that we would not be isolated by voting against new World Bank loans to Argentina – the Obama administration already has a policy of voting against new loans, because of Argentina’s treatment of existing creditors. British representatives could be instructed to support the American policy.
In addition, the nationalisation of the YPF oil company, which is owned by Spanish firm Repsol, as well as import restrictions, has caused the European Union to file a suit against Argentina with the World Trade Organisation. That implies there is an appetite amongst other countries to support action against Argentina.
The e-petition explains that:
"The Government has told Parliament that, as of March 2012, total outstanding loans to Argentina from the World Bank were $16.2 billion. That means Britain’s share of the outstanding loans is over £200 million, based on our shareholding in the two World Bank institutions lending to the country."
"The Obama Administration in the United States has already announced a policy of voting no to any new loans thanks to Argentina’s failure to respect its obligations to earlier lenders. We call upon the British Government to – at the very least – support that and vote against any new World Bank loans to Argentina"
As the TPA's report says, "Britain can and should act to stop further World Bank loans to Argentina. This is a key opportunity to show that aid policy reflects rather than ignores Britain’s broader national interests."