Clause 2

Part of Debt Relief (Developing Countries) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:15 am on 9th March 2010.

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Photo of Sally Keeble Sally Keeble Labour, Northampton North 10:15 am, 9th March 2010

Clause 2 deals with some of the details of what is, and is not, a debt. As the hon. Gentleman rightly says, a great deal of discussion has taken place, and much experience has been built up, with both the World Bank and the IMF. On the point made by the hon. Member for Daventry, the definition of residence is not based on currency, but on the residency of the creditor. It is quite common for debts to be incurred in different currencies from that of the country concerned. I do not, therefore, think that that is an issue. To offer complete clarification, however, the definition mirrors the IMF definitions and is not based on currency.

On subsection (10), I understand that the Government have consulted the IMF and that they have been able to apply the residence test without difficulty. They are clear about what is, and is not, an external debt. The subsection clearly sets out what should happen if there is any doubt. On the final point about the exclusion of revenue spending, the carve-out of the liability to pay for goods and services in subsection (3) mirrors the IMF initiative, which also makes those exclusions. They seem eminently practical, because if we included liability to pay for goods and services, almost all Government spending would apply to the kind of relief involved, and that would clearly be unworkable. The approach in the legislation is not about inventing new procedures, but about using tried and tested mechanisms that have been subject to scrutiny and international negotiation to deal with the issues connected to the remainder of the private sector debt.