§ Helen Jones
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what plans she has to assist Belize with debt relief. 129W
§ Mr. Foulkes
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development has agreed with the Government of Belize the cancellation of repayments of aid debt due from Belize to the UK between April and October 1998, amounting to £1.146 million.
We were able to make the offer under the Commonwealth Debt Initiative in recognition of the Belize Government's commitment to reduce poverty and promote accountable government, and to put in place sustainable economic policies.
The funds which would otherwise have been used to repay aid debts will now be used for poverty focused projects in education and water supply, specifically:
- rural water schemes in several villages;
- classroom furniture, equipment and materials in schools in poorer areas;
- textbooks for primary schools in poorer areas, under the textbook loan scheme.
We will hold talks with the Government of Belize early in 1999 to consider further debt relief.