Debt Relief

Debt freeze plan ‘welcome but inadequate’

The Jubilee Debt Campaign and the World Development Movement called for debt to be cancelled as “the most effective way to fund the long-term alleviation of poverty, not just as a response to a disaster”.

Debt campaigners today described the plan backed by Chancellor Gordon Brown to freeze debt repayments by tsunami-affected countries as “welcome but inadequate”.

The Jubilee Debt Campaign and the World Development Movement called for debt to be cancelled as “the most effective way to fund the long-term alleviation of poverty, not just as a response to a disaster”.

World Development Movement director Mark Curtis said: “It would be obscene for rich countries to continue to receive billions of dollars of debt repayments in the midst of such suffering and when funds are desperately needed to start the long task of rebuilding shattered economies and infrastructure.

“Only debt cancellation will give these countries the long-term boost to the funds available to rebuild and to tackle poverty in a way that does not depend on the whim of rich countries.”

A moratorium alone would not give the security necessary to invest in the reconstruction of the economies as massive debt repayments could restart at any time that rich countries chose, he said.

Yesterday Mr Brown promised to lead attempts to establish a debt moratorium and said he believed a decision would be taken next week by the so-called Paris Club of creditor nations.

The worst-hit countries, such as Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand, could together escape about £1.6 billion-worth of debt repayments under the plan.

Nick Mead, Scotsman.com, January 5, 2005

Categories: Debt Relief, Odious Debts

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