Azara Blog: Debt relief and the G8 summit

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Date published: 2005/06/26

The BBC says:

A deal on 100% debt relief for the world's poorest countries can be secured at July's G8 summit in Scotland, the chancellor has claimed.

Gordon Brown said countries paying more on debt interest than education or health would not have much of a future.

The lead-up to the summit at Gleneagles will see tens of thousands of people take part in a Make Poverty History march in Edinburgh on Saturday.

Protesters wearing white plan to form a white band around the city centre.

The chancellor told BBC Scotland's The Politics Show that 100% debt relief would happen.

He said: "If you're actually spending more in debt interest payments than you can spend on education, then as a country, you're not going to have much of a future.

"And if you've got to spend more on debt interest payments than you spend on health, then there are lots of people going to die unfairly and unnecessarily.

"So I think the rest of the world has come to realise that 100% debt relief is essential, I believe we've got an agreement now that that should happen, I think you'll find it confirmed at the Gleneagles summit."

The US annual federal debt interest payments have been over 300 billion dollars ever since 1995. The US education budget is currently around 50 billion dollars per year. And the US health budget is currently around 600 billion dollars (and exploding; in 1995 it was less than 300 billion dollars, so less than the then interest payments on debt). Perhaps the US should be getting some debt relief. (Of course the 50 US states also spend money on education and health, and also have debt, so the total picture is much more complicated.)

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