HC Deb 08 June 1989 vol 154 cc355-6
5. Mr. Dalyell

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the most recent discussions of the IMF on help to (a) Brazil, (b) Zaire, (c) Indonesia and (d) Nepal.

Mr. Brooke

The discussions to which the hon. Member refers are, of course, confidential. Brazil, Zaire and Nepal have drawn on IMF facilities within the past three years. Indonesia has not applied for IMF assistance in that period.

Mr. Dalyell

What measures will the Paymaster General promote in the World Bank and the IMF to ensure that the IMF's structural readjustment programmes do not accelerate the destruction of the rain forests?

Mr. Brooke

IMF programmes are macro-economic and do not relate directly to issues such as the environment. The environment is a matter for the World Bank. IMF programmes create conditions for economic growth which, by leading to the alleviation of poverty, would tend to reduce pressure on the environment.

Mr. Harry Greenway

How do the IMF programmes for underdeveloped and developing countries compare with the IMF rescue operation for this country under the last Labour Government?

Mr. Brooke

That is a slightly larger question than that asked by the hon. Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Dalyell), but there is never any harm in my hon. Friend reminding the House of conditions 12 or 13 years ago.

Mr. Chris Smith

So far, the Government have been lukewarm, at best, in their efforts to alleviate the massive debt problems of many of the developing countries, and their reluctance to associate that with environmental concern, as shown by the answer that the right hon. Gentleman has just given, makes the position even more worrying. Can the right hon. Gentleman not see the common sense in securing environmental gains for the safety of the planet as a whole while at the same time lightening some of the crippling debt burdens of countries such as Brazil?

Mr. Brooke

Taking the hon. Gentleman's question at face value, the Government fully support the World Bank. As to the enhanced structure adjustment facility, the United Kingdom has led the way in supporting the efforts of the poorest countries to adjust their economies. The IMF pays its way through ESAF, to which the United Kingdom has made one of the largest contributions, providing a subsidy on up to £1 billion special drawing rights of ESAF lending.