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Debt Relief (Developing Countries) Act

Oral Answers to Questions — International Development – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 7th July 2010.

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Photo of Andrew Gwynne Andrew Gwynne Labour, Denton and Reddish 11:30 am, 7th July 2010

When he plans to assess the effectiveness of the operation of the Debt Relief (Developing Countries) Act 2010; and if he will make a statement.

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Photo of Alan Duncan Alan Duncan The Minister of State, Department for International Development

I acknowledge the success of the hon. Member in initiating this important Act, which is a key part of action against so-called vulture funds. It means that UK courts of law can no longer be used to pursue excessive claims against some of the poorest countries on their historic debts, ensuring that resources are available to tackle poverty. We will review the effectiveness of this new Act before the sunset clause expires next June.

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Photo of Andrew Gwynne Andrew Gwynne Labour, Denton and Reddish

May I take this opportunity to place on record my thanks and appreciation to Sally Keeble, who successfully steered the Bill through while I was recovering from illness? Given the importance of this legislation to the 40 most indebted countries, will the Minister please ensure that it continues so that these important measures remain in place in the UK and that never again will a British court be used to take the third-world debts from these countries?

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Photo of Alan Duncan Alan Duncan The Minister of State, Department for International Development

I acknowledge the work of the hon. Gentleman and the former hon. Lady in putting the legislation on the statute book. It was there as a result of the wash-up in the last Parliament, and so enjoyed cross-party agreement. The Act has been in place for only a month, and we will examine its effectiveness in the hope that it can be shown to work and can be renewed in the future.

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