Stephen Timms today delivered a petition to Number 10 Downing Street signed by some 25,500 people calling on the UK Government, Barclays Bank and regulators to take urgent action to save money transfer businesses from going bust. Stephen was accompanied by the MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, Rushanara Ali, as well as three Chief Executives of Money Transfer Agencies whose businesses are at risk.
The petition was part of the ‘Save Remittance Giving Campaign’ which aims to stop Barclays withdrawing from the UK remittance market. Rushanara Ali has led the campaign, which has received local and national endorsement and acclaim – not least from double Olympic Gold medallist, Mo Farah. The 25,500 signatories are calling on Barclays to reconsider its decision as a matter of urgency given the damage it could cause to the struggling UK economy, local businesses and jobs, and millions of people in the developing world.
Mo Farah, who came to the UK from Somalia, has spoken out in support of the campaign and called on the UK Government to help find an urgent solution to this issue. He emphasised the crucial role remittances have played for his family and the Mo Farah Foundation, arguing this was a matter of “life or death” for millions of people in Somalia. Today he said: “It is so important that the government and the banks realise the incredibly serious threat this poses, and work with the remittance industry to find a solution. My charity, the Mo Farah Foundation, as well as many other international aid organisations, rely on companies like Dahabshiil and without them will no longer be able to get money to the people who so desperately need it. We are asking the Prime Minister to step in and help to find a solution. Millions of Somalis as well as people across the developing world depend on it.”
Speaking after delivering the petition, Stephen said: “The UK Government needs to take urgent action. Many of my constituents use Money Transfer Agencies to send money to their friends and family abroad. Restricting this service could be disastrous, not only to people here in East Ham, but have a devastating impact on millions of people in developing countries who are heavily reliant on the billions of pounds they receive in remittances from the UK through charitable giving.
“It is vital that the UK Government, Barclays Bank and the regulatory authorities find an alternative solution to prevent money transfer businesses from closing down.”