The World Development Movement has launched a new film today parodying Barclays’ role in speculating on food prices. Actors Jolyon Rubinstein and Heydon Prowse pose as Barclays bankers attempting to sell spoof investment products to unsuspecting passers-by, with "profit margins so ridiculous, it’s almost criminal".
The 'bankers' reveal to their potential customers that their investments will force people to go hungry, but reassure them, "Those people are in a place you’re never going to go to."
‘Barclays Speculate’ also features Josie Long, Joseph Dives and Leila Farzad.
The film shows Jolyon Rubinstein being escorted out of a Barclays branch by armed police after delivering a bag of maize. Jolyon said:
The police seemed sympathetic as to why we felt it necessary to highlight just how much money Barclays is making through food speculation by pouring corn all over the bank’s floor.
Barclays is estimated to have made up to £500 million from speculating on food prices in 2010 and 2011.
The 3-minute film aims to highlight the impact financial speculation has on food prices and hunger, ahead of a vote on regulating speculation in the European Union. The campaigners want George Osborne to back effective regulation in the vote scheduled for 13 November.
Deborah Doane, director of the World Development Movement, said:
In spite of spiralling food prices and research that confirms speculation contributes to the problem, banks like Barclays are still making vast profits from speculation in food commodity markets. Prices have risen far beyond the amount that can be attributed to the fundamentals of supply and demand. Here in the UK, the average household’s annual food bill rose by £152 in 2011. And in developing countries, price rises are pushing food out of the reach of millions of people.
Even with a growing global consensus, so far, the UK government has failed to back strict limits on speculation at the European level. I hope the film exposes the scandal of treating food like stocks and shares and will help persuade the Chancellor to support effective regulation.
People can support the campaign by sending an email to George Osborne.