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30 June 2005

Barrett warns against complacency over African debt relief

John Barrett, Liberal Democrat MP for Edinburgh West, today warned Gordon Brown not to be complacent in his attempts to secure debt relief for the world’s poorest countries.

Speaking in the House of Commons, John Barrett called on the Chancellor to ensure that countries given debt relief spend the savings on improving the health and education of their people. He also emphasised the importance of improving the human rights record of many African countries.

Commenting, John Barrett said:

“It is encouraging news that more and more African countries are now qualifying for debt relief. For too long the shackles of debt have prevented real progress towards tacking poverty in Africa.

“However, cancelling debts alone will not solve all of Africa’s problems. For debt relief to have an impact, it is crucial that steps are taken to ensure the money saved goes to those areas that need it most, namely health and education. Alongside this, the Government must commit to work alongside African countries to improve their human rights records.

“Currently too many people in Africa are victims of horrific abuses of their human rights and too often their own Governments are either complicit, or are not doing enough to tackle the problem. It is these innocent people that the money saved on debt relief must go towards helping.

“I will continue to press the Government to work with developing countries on these issues and I look forward to the Prime Minister raising these concerns with G8 leaders this weekend.”

 

 
Notes

John Barrett questioned the Chancellor during Treasury Questions this morning

More information on debt relief is available at the website of Oxfam:
www.oxfam.org.uk/what_we_do/issues/debt_aid/index.htm

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This website was established while I was a Member of Parliament. The site content is being kept online as a source of information, but all forms / email have been disabled.