'G20 fiddles while the world burns'

12 November 2010 - 2:59pm
Press release

Leaders accused of refusing to act on crises

Leaders of the G20 group of the world's major economies, including British prime minister David Cameron, today faced accusations of refusing to take action on the roots of the global financial crisis and its dire impact on jobs and livelihoods.

These charges were made by the British anti-poverty charity War on Want as the G20 summit ended in the South Korean capital Seoul.

It said the group had failed in its self-imposed task of fixing the world economy.

The charity pointed to the leaders' agenda in 2008, which included reining in the financial industry, breaking up overlarge banks, tackling tax havens and regulating financial markets.

According to War on Want, two years on the G20 is simply reaffirming its commitment to the neo-liberal policies that caused the crisis.

Dave Tucker, trade campaigns officer at War on Want, said: "The G20 has refused to rethink the free market system that caused the financial crisis. The leaders are focused on getting back to business as usual, and preserving the policies and institutions that caused the crisis. The guilty have not been punished, but rewarded. They are setting up even worse crises to come."

War on Want is calling for the introduction of capital controls to stop "hot money" destabilising developing countries, as well as action to close down tax havens and implement a worldwide tax on financial transactions to curb speculation.

It is also urging the introduction of far more extensive regulation of the banking sector and ending the dollar's primacy as the international reserve currency, which forces poorer countries to subsidise US consumption.

War on Want brands the G20 an illegitimate group which cannot reach solutions that will meet the needs of all countries, particularly the poorest.

It says the group's discussions should be held instead under the UN Global Economic Coordination Council.

The charity also denounced the austerity measures introduced in many countries as a political choice, not an inevitable consequence of indebtedness caused by the bailout of the banks.

CONTACT: Paul Collins, War on Want media office (+44) (0)20 7324 5054 or (+44) (0)7983 550728

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