Vulture funds - as defined by the International Monetary Fund and UK Chancellor Gordon Brown among others - are companies which buy up the debt of poor nations cheaply when it is about to be written off, then sue for the full value of the debt plus interest.
Douglas Alexander, Secretary of State for International Development, revealed in Parliament that the Government has provided just £1.8m of support for Nicaragua’s $1.3bn anti-vulture fund operation. Liberal Democrat Shadow International Development Secretary, Michael Moore, said:
"Providing 1% of the cost of Nicaragua’s billion dollar commercial debt buy-back does nothing to excuse the Government from its total failure to tackle the scourge of vulture funds operating through British courts.
"The £10m pledge to help prevent future activities by vulture funds pales in comparison with the hundreds of millions of pounds which British courts have awarded them so far.
"The Prime Minister is keen to promote his commitment to global development, but an agreement on the need for an agreement is just not good enough. Where are the measures that will protect the world’s poorest from falling prey to vulture funds?
"The least that this Government must do is to bring forward legislation to clean up Britain’s own financial regulations and ban vulture funds from using the UK as a base to exploit the developing world."