To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer to what extent he is prepared to cancel rather than reschedule debts of third-world countries.
The Government have consistently taken the lead in developing an international strategy to tackle the debt problems of the poorest countries. Many of the poorest countries with the heaviest debt burdens can never realistically be expected to pay back their debts, and in these cases the Government believe that a substantial degree of debt cancellation is the only way forward. The Prime Minister's Trinidad terms initiative, launched in September 1990, proposed cancellation by all creditors of around two thirds of the whole stock of debt of eligible countries. The Paris club of creditor countries began implementing Trinidad terms in December 1991, and the United Kingdom is continuing to press for their full implementation by all creditors.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make the Trinidad terms available to all low-income countries and all lower middle income countries with debt problems.
No. Trinidad terms are specifically designed to address the debt problems of the poorest and most heavily indebted countries.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will take action to address the whole stock of debt of third-world countries.
In cases where a country's inability to meet its debt servicing obligations arises from a temporary liquidity problem, it is neither necessary nor appropriate to offer relief on the whole stock of that country's debt. In certain more difficult cases, however, the Government believe that restructuring the debt stock represents the best approach to resolving that country's debt problem once and for all. This applies in particular to the poorest and most heavily indebted countries, and the Government hope that, in accordance with the new Paris club agreements implementing Trinidad terms, stock of debt reductions can be agreed for these countries within the next few years.