Barclays closes final remittance accounts from UK to Somalia, Oxfam reaction

Report
from Oxfam
Published on 30 Sep 2013

Today in response to Barclays bank closing its final remittance accounts from the UK to Somalia, Oxfam's Director of Campaigns and Policy, Ben Phillips, said: "Today is a bleak day for Somalis as Barclays closes accounts that allow the Somali community in Britain to send money home. The UK Government has shown international leadership on Somalia, including generous donations of aid. It has, however, failed to take strong enough action to stop this closure.

"Banks, such as Barclays, have a critical role to play in allowing money from communities in Britain to reach loved ones at home. Amounts sent are usually very small, and used for essentials - healthcare, food, water and education. Barclays is failing in its responsibility to the very poorest people. If these accounts are closed, transfer fees are likely to go up, hitting poorest people the most, and the industry is likely to go underground - completely contradicting the aims of the counter terror regulation that the banks say are their prime concern.

"Barclays and the Treasury must urgently work to find a solution that works for Somali people. Barclays needs to immediately extend the deadline and keep these accounts open long enough to allow time for alternatives to be put in place. The Treasury have responsibility for banking regulation and need to take leadership to rapidly drive through a solution."

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Grace Cahill on +44 788 159 4370 / +44 1865 473415 /gcahill@oxfam.org.uk