Ten years from the financial crisis, cuts and privatisation of public services have become the new normal. Yet public sector funds are often constrained by debt repayments that have priority over everything else.

This is why we need to start to ask questions: In whose interests have financial decisions been made? Who has benefitted from them, and who has paid for them? What power dynamics in society have they reinforced?

A debt audit is a tool for democratising financial decision-making. Questioning the legitimacy and fairness of debt enables us to start having conversations about how public money should be used and how we can build a fairer society.

On 22 March, Research for Action hosted a roundtable about experiences of debt audits in the UK and abroad. We were joined by guests from Madrid and Barcelona that are part of a network of municipalities campaigning against illegitimate debt and cuts across the Spanish state as well as a researcher who worked on the Parliamentary debt audit that argued Greece’s debt is illegal, illegitimate and odious. Research for Action and People’s Audit also presented their work on local government audits in the UK.


Chiara Giacco – PACD Madrid

Emma Aviles – PACD Barcelona

Christina Laskaridis – participant in the Truth Committee on Greek Public Debt

Simon Morrow – People’s Audit Lambeth

Vica Rogers – Debt Resistance UK & Research for Action