Thank you for contacting me about Zambia’s Debt Relief.
I believe it is utterly unacceptable that countries like Zambia are being expected to prioritise debt repayments over the safety of their citizens during the world’s worst health crisis in over 100 years.
Therefore I support the cancellation of debt repayments for low-income countries. This would free up billions of pounds in order to help these countries invest in their health systems and protect and save lives in all parts of the world.
Moreover, in the long run, this will also protect people and front-line services in the United Kingdom.
The reality is that African countries are currently spending three times more on debt repayments to banks and speculators alone than it would cost to vaccinate the entire continent against COVID-19.
Surely the priority for this money should be focused towards tackling the climate emergency, creating and maintaining millions of jobs needed for a green recovery, and building greater resilience against ecological disasters.
For these reasons, I believe that the UK Government should consider amending the law to temporarily limit the ability of private creditors to sue for debt recovery for 73 of the world’s poorest countries.
At the same time, it is disappointing that the Government decided to temporarily cut UK aid spending from 0.7% of gross national income to 0.5%. I believe that this will damage the UK’s reputation abroad, especially at a time when the world is facing vast challenges that cannot be met by individual countries acting alone. The pandemic, climate crisis, environmental degradation and destruction, rising poverty and inequality. I believe that the answers to global problems lie in working together, by collaborating and building partnerships with others.
We must ensure that our global commitments to the poorest countries in the world should never waver and that is why I will continue to urge the UK Government to support debt cancellation for low-income countries.