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1993 - PMQT Written Answers 19th July 1993

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister's Question Time from 19th July 1993.


PRIME MINISTER:

Gulf War

Mr. Tyler : To ask the Prime Minister when he expects to be able to provide a substantive reply to the letter from the hon. Member for North Cornwall dated 18 January about the cases of the three Gulf war widows, Mrs. Lyn Hicks, Mrs. Liz Weeks and Mrs. Anne Lennox.

The Prime Minister : A reply will be sent shortly.


Vietnamese Prime Minister (Visit)

Mr. Alton : To ask the Prime Minister what specific human rights issues he raised with the Prime Minister of Vietnam during his recent visit.

The Prime Minister : At my request, the Minister for Overseas Development expressed our concern about Vietnam's human rights record with the Vietnamese Prime Minister during his visit to the United Kingdom of 3 to 6 July. We also handed over a short list of specific human rights cases.


Child Migrants

Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer of 14 July, Official Report, columns 506-7, if he will make available to the Child Migrant Trust personal record files relating to British child migrants for use in confidence in counselling migrants and tracing relatives in the United Kingdom.

The Prime Minister : I have asked my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health to write to the hon. Member.


Overseas Debt

Mr. Meacher : To ask the Prime Minister how many countries which qualify for relief under the Trinidad terms owe money to the United Kingdom; what is their total debt to the United Kingdom; what proportion of that debt could be (a) wiped-out or (b) rescheduled; and what is the total value of debt which could be (i) wiped out and (ii) rescheduled.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 12 July 1993] : Fourteen of the 17 countries that have qualified for Trinidad terms from the Paris club have debt outstanding to the Export Credits Guarantee Department, totalling £774 million.

Countries receiving Trinidad agreements get debt reduction or debt service reduction equivalent to half the value of eligible debt due over the periods of the agreements. Some £174 million of these countries' debt to ECGD has been rescheduled under these arrangements, and the equivalent value of the reduction in those countries' debt to ECGD is therefore around half that figure.

Of the 17 countries given Trinidad terms, only Nicaragua has debt outstanding to the ODA, amounting to some £0.6 million. Seven of these countries--Tanzania, Bolivia, Uganda, Honduras, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia and Mozambique--have already received retrospective terms adjustment--RTA-- writing off their ODA debt. RTA has also recently been announced for Zambia and Guyana. These agreements, which are awaiting signature, will write off debt of £55.9 million and £53.4 million respectively.

There are further severely-indebted low-income countries which may qualify for Trinidad terms in future, for example once they have agreed reform programmes with the IMF. The Paris club will also consider giving countries which have Trinidad agreements the equivalent of up to 50 per cent. reduction of the remaining stock of debt, provided they establish track records of debt servicing and economic reform over the periods of the agreements. Under present rules this could produce further debt reduction up to 50 per cent. of the total debt to ECGD then outstanding. But the United Kingdom is pressing the Paris club to go further, in line with my original Trinidad proposals, and give immediate stock of debt reduction of up to 80 per cent. for the neediest eligible countries on a case by case basis. In response to United Kingdom pressure, the recent Tokyo summit asked the Paris club to continue reviewing the question of debt relief for these countries, and especially to consider earlier reductions in their stock of debt.