Brown and International Development Secretary Clare Short today pledged
that, from December 1st, all debt payments to the UK from
41 of the world's poorest countries have now stopped or will be held
in trust for the day they can be returned to fund poverty reduction.
Speaking at a rally organised by Jubilee 2000 in London, the Chancellor said:
“Because poverty is so great and the need so urgent, neither you nor I want the richest countries to benefit any more from the debts of these poorest countries.
“So I can say to you – and to all 41 HIPC countries on behalf of the British Government – I will renounce our right to receive any benefit from the historic debt owed by all the 41 most indebted countries. From today, all debt payments received by us will be held in trust for poverty relief, paid when poverty reduction plans are agreed and backdated to this day.”
The Chancellor outlined what progress had been made so far. The IMF and World Bank have committed that 20 countries will be getting debt relief by the end of the year. This will lead to over ,600 million in debts to the UK being written off, benefiting 200 million people. In total $50 billion in debt relief will be pledged for these 20 countries.
for the 21 still to secure debt relief because of civil wars, external
conflict or the absence of a poverty reduction programme, Britain
will now backdate 100 per cent debt relief to today. All payments
will be held in trust for the day that they become eligible for debt
Chancellor went on to call for other countries to follow the UK’s
Financial Secretary Stephen Timms is today travelling to Zambia, Malawi and then South Africa and will explain the new initiative and talk to leaders about debt relief. Clare Short has just returned from a visit to Africa.
NOTES TO EDITORSThe 41 HIPC countries are set out below.