HC Deb 10 May 1999 vol 331 cc2-3W
Dr. Tonge

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment her Department has made of the IMF's suitability as the lead organisation in helping poor countries meet the 2015 international development targets. [83301]

Clare Short

Multilateral organisations including the IMF have a key role to play in helping countries to meet the international development targets. Following last year's review of the IMF's Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility, it was agreed that the IMF should take more account of the social impact of their programmes, the quality of government expenditure, and should protect budgets in high priority areas such as health and education. We are encouraging the IMF to work more closely with the World Bank to ensure that, in designing structural adjustment programmes, they take account of the impact on the poor. Following proposals put forward by the UK, the World Bank is developing principles of good practice in social policy, in consultation with the IMF. We envisage that these principles will be drawn upon by the World Bank and the IMF in the design of programmes. We continually emphasise the need for the IMF to build support for reforms which lead to economic growth which benefit the poor programmes, through discussion and consultation with civil society.