HC Deb 19 April 2000 vol 348 cc525-6W
Mr. John M. Taylor

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, pursuant to her answer of 5 April 2000,Official Report, column 472W, on debt collection, if her policy on giving debt relief includes discrimination between good and bad stewardship by aid recipients. [118415]

Clare Short

The Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative is an international agreement and so the conditions attached to the debt relief provided under the initiative must be agreed internationally. As my answer on 5 April made clear, I am pleased that the main criterion is that the debt relief benefits the poor, with governments of HIPC countries producing poverty reduction strategies to qualify for their relief.

The internationally agreed conditions for debt relief do not discriminate between good and bad stewardship of aid in the past. In many cases, the indebtedness will have arisen, in part, from bad stewardship of aid and other resources. Regardless of past performance, very poor, heavily indebted countries can qualify for the initiative. The key test is whether current governments have demonstrated a commitment to sound policies and poverty reduction, which will include the effective use of aid resources. The HIPC initiative requires a track record of three years before countries start getting their debt relief.

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