Jubilee Scotland have today published their view of how the problem of dealing with unjust debt could be affected by the impending referendum on Scottish Independence in September 2014. The vast majority of debt owed to the UK is held by UK Export Finance, and Scotland currently holds no debts, meaning that sovereign debt is one key area which would be affected by Scottish independence. Although Jubilee Scotland is remaining neutral in the independence debate, the charity has been considering the implications of Scottish independence on the fight for an end to unjust debt.
Many of the debts held by the UK would be considered by most to be unjust – originating from loans to dictators for arms used to oppress innocent civilians, or made in order to increase the profits on multinational corporations at the expense of investment in healthcare and education. If Scotland gained independence, it would most likely inherit a share of this debt owed to the UK, as well as the power to create export credits – the mechanism by which most debt is created.
Jubilee Scotland’s Debt Justice pledge, which has been signed by people, organisations and decision-makers across Scotland calls for a Scotland which:
- holds no unjust or unpayable debts;
- is not implicated in the creation of new unjust or unpayable debts;
- offers itself as a seat of arbitration for unjust and unpayable global debt; and
- promotes debt justice internationally.
And we have now released a briefing which highlights how these asks could be achieved both through Scotland remaining as a part of the UK, or through Scotland becoming an independent nation.
Better Together state: “The UK has an excellent record on debt justice: leading world in cancelling billions of pounds of debt in of some of the world’s poorest countries. As part of the UK our efforts to tackle debt are bolstered by the scale and influence of the United Kingdom. We can look to the future with optimism and be confident that by working together as part of a powerful and influential United Kingdom, we can achieve debt justice far better than we ever could apart. We owe it to all those who continue to be afflicted by poverty to do so.”
In contrast, Yes Scotland said “Yes Scotland welcomes the publication of ‘Jubilee Scotland and the independence referendum’. By engaging in the debate now and developing policy ideas now, charities such as Jubilee Scotland can begin to shape how an independent Scotland would look after a Yes vote. We believe that Jubilee Scotland and its supporters can be very optimistic that in an independent Scotland, many of its goals will be realised. So why settle for lobbying Westminster for change when we ourselves have the opportunity to make the change directly? Instead of lobbying and waiting, a Yes vote empowers us to act and to lead on debt justice”
Read the full document, along with complete statements from Better Together and Yes Scotland here.