HL Deb 13 December 1999 vol 608 cc8-9WA
Lord Judd

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What criteria they will apply in deciding which countries are eligible for 100 per cent debt relief; and what progress has been made towards introducing such debt relief. [HL129]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has said that, for countries eligible for multilateral relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative (HIPC), the UK will, on a case by case basis, provide debt relief of up to 100 per cent, if necessary, and where debt relief will finance poverty reduction. Amongst other things, the Government will be seeking to ensure that money saved in servicing debt will contribute to educating the young and/or improving healthcare.

Countries have yet to be brought forward for debt cancellation under the new initiative. The UK is pressing the IMF and World Bank to move quickly on the timetable of countries that Are eligible for retrospective treatment—i.e. those that have been through the process under the old HIPC Initiative, but who are eligible for higher levels of debt relief under the terms of the new initiative. We expect the first case to be discussed shortly in the World Bank and IMF Boards.