Bethnal Green and Bow MP to hand in petition

Bethnal Green and Bow MP Rushanara Ali will hand-deliver a petition signed by 15,000 people to 10 Downing Street to save money transfer agencies.

The petition, which will be handed in on Wednesday, calls on the UK Government, regulators and Barclays Bank to take urgent action to save money transfer agencies from going bust, cutting off millions of people in developing countries from a vital lifeline.

The event will take place days before Eid-ul-Fitre, the festival marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, when millions of Muslims around the world give Zakat – charity donated through remittance agencies to those in developing countries. British Muslims alone give £100 million during the month of Ramadan to charity for those facing poverty both in the UK and in their countries of origin in the form of remittances.

Other communities in the UK with connections to developing countries – particularly the African and Indian subcontinents – who use remittance agencies to send money to loved ones will also be badly affected. In 2012, remittance payments sent from the UK reached $23.16 billion and globally, remittance giving accounted for $530 billion, far eclipsing the total international aid budget Mo Farah, Olympic champion runner who is backing the campaign, has urged Barclays Bank to stop it closing the accounts of 250 UK money-transfer companies operating what he says is a “lifeline” into poor countries.