HC Deb 20 December 1989 vol 164 cc263-4W
Mr. Kirkhope

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress there had been in setting up a currency stabilisation fund for Poland.

Mrs. Chalker

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary told the House on 29 November that the United Kingdom intended to contribute $100 million to a currency stabilisation fund for Poland. It has now been agreed that these resources should be provided as a grant to the fund, which will total around $1,000 million. The fund will be available to support policies aimed at liberalisation of payments and transfers for current international transactions. It will complement resources provided by the International Monetary Fund to support an agreed programme of economic policy reform.

The management of the fund will be agreed between the contributors and the Polish authorities. The fund is expected to become operational in January 1990 and to run for one year although it may be extended for a further period. Drawings on the fund will be limited and will be expected to be reconstituted. The contributors will discuss with the Polish Government how the balances remaining in the fund can most effectively be used to further assist economic reform in Poland.

The United Kingdom contribution will be part of the public expenditure provision for economic assistance to eastern Europe and is additional to and separate from the provision for overseas aid. Parliamentary approval of the new service will be sought in a Supplementary Estimate for the Overseas Aid Vote (Class II, Vote 5). Pending that approval, the sterling cost will be met by a repayable advance from the Contingency Fund.