A costumed Lady Luck and a croupier in black tie, with a roulette wheel and giant playing cards, protested in front of the Tory party conference in Birmingham this morning, calling on George Osborne to stop bankers driving up food prices through financial speculation.
Ahead of the Chancellor’s keynote speech, campaigners asked him to back European regulation to curb financial speculation in commodity markets. Speculation is fuelling price volatility and pushing food prices beyond the reach of millions of people in developing countries.
George Osborne is due to meet his European counterparts on Tuesday 13 November to agree on the new legislation. The UK government has attempted to block effective controls on speculation.
World Development Movement campaigner Christine Haigh said: “We brought Lady Luck to the Conservative party conference to highlight the fact that banks and hedge funds are essentially gambling on food prices. Steep price spikes fuelled by speculation make the weekly shop more expensive for families in the UK, and for the poorest people in developing countries they spell disaster.
“George Osborne and his fellow finance ministers have the power to curb speculation, and backing from the Chancellor is key to ensuring the new regulation is strong enough. We’re calling on him to put the needs of a billion hungry people before the profits of a few investment bankers.”
Almost 25 thousand people have signed petitions to George Osborne and Treasury ministers urging them to curb food speculation.