Preet Kaur Gill MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for International Development, commenting on the IMF and World Bank Spring meeting this week, said:
“The coronavirus outbreak is leading to a health and economic crisis around the world. Although the virus is indiscriminate in its reach, it is the poorest and most vulnerable who will be hit hardest, and we risk seeing half a billion people pushed into poverty globally.
“It is unacceptable that some of the poorest countries are being expected to prioritise debt repayments over the safety of their citizens during the world’s worst health crisis in over 100 years. This is a global emergency and if we can ensure the most vulnerable people are protected overseas, it will help us to quickly tackle this crisis. In the long run this will also protect people and front-line services in the UK.
“The British Government has been too quiet on this issue and too slow in driving the global co-operation that this crisis desperately needs. That is why I am calling on the UK to use its influence to urge for the cancellation of debt repayments for low-income countries, without conditions, and in doing so, free up billions of pounds to help the poorest countries invest in their health systems and help protect and save lives in all parts of the world.”