Clause 3

Part of Debt Relief (Developing Countries) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:45 am on 9th March 2010.

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Photo of Sally Keeble Sally Keeble Labour, Northampton North 10:45 am, 9th March 2010

I think that most people have had their questions about insolvency arrangements, the management of the debt and the arrangements for orderly wind-down answered, and my right hon. Friend the Member for East Ham dealt with the human rights issues, so there is absolutely no point in my covering those matters. I just point out that the calculation of what are sustainable debts for the countries has already been agreed, and is set down in the explanatory notes.

In addition, we talked earlier about the fair treatment of different types of debt, and I point out that some of the commercial creditors have already behaved properly, going through the process and writing off the debt. The issue is about dealing with different classes of debt equally. On the point raised by the hon. Member for Worthing, West, the HIPC amount is a ceiling, and if parties agree to less than that amount, they can recover only the lesser amount.

Other hon. Members, including my hon. Friend the Member for Linlithgow and East Falkirk, made the case about the obvious and compelling circumstances. It rests with some of the countries—and here I mention the steps taken by the British taxpayer—to underwrite some of the costs. Looking at the list of countries, we see that one of them is Haiti. We must ask whether there are obvious and compelling circumstances for Haiti that require the kind of management of debt that we are talking about. In most cases, things are being done perfectly properly. However, a country in such circumstances should not be prey to a fund that suddenly decides to hit it for the full amount of repayment of debt.