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Monday, September 20, 1999 Published at 19:54 GMT 20:54 UK


Business: The Economy

Brown calls for $1bn debt donation

Debts hinder the economies of some of the world's poorest countries

UK Chancellor Gordon Brown is asking the European Commission to make a "Millennium donation" of £625m ($1bn) to help pay off Third World debt.

World Debt
Mr Brown is calling on Brussels to use the European Development Fund to help relieve the debt burden on the world's poorest countries.

Mr Brown said: "I am going to be proposing that the European Union make a special one-off Millennium contribution which will amount to about $1bn so that we can play our part in removing the burden of debt from the poorest countries in the world."

In a television interview, the Chancellor said: "Money that is going to debt servicing should be going to healing the sick, educating children and relieving poverty".

Mr Brown and International Development Secretary Clare Short are meeting church leaders and campaigners from debt relief organisation Jubilee 2000.

He said: "I think the campaign in this country, led by the churches and others, has highlighted the need for us to make this special contribution - our Millennium contribution - to relieving the poverty that exists around the world.

"I'm sure we'll get a response from the rest of Europe."


BBC News' Ed Crooks:"There is an alternative plan."
Earlier this year, Mr Brown set out a plan to restructure debt and increase aid from the industrialised countries and international charities.

He said the aim was to reduce the overall indebtedness of developing nations by $50bn by the end of next year.

One alternative proposed is to for the International Monetary Fund to sell its gold reserves, raising $2bn.

Fear exists that this could hurt gold-producing countries, such as Ghana and Tanzania. and create more problems than it solves.





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