§ Miss Geraldine Smith
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proposals he has made for the reform of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative. 
§ Ms Hewitt
At the Annual Meeting of the IMF/World Bank in the autumn, the UK secured agreement to a comprehensive review of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative, to take place in 1999.
Last month the Chancellor and Secretary of State for International Development wrote to the IMF and the World Bank, pressing for the HIPC initiative to provide faster, deeper and wider debt relief. They asked in particular that the review include an assessment of whether HIPC debt relief ought to be linked more closely to poverty reduction, and whether the current debt sustainability ratios are too strict.