This is an example of many automated emails we received regarding Debt Cancellation for the Poorest Countries:
Dear Siobhan Baillie MP,
As your constituent I am deeply concerned about the effect of Coronavirus on lower-income countries.
The virus is spreading around the world, with reports that the rate of infection is accelerating in Africa.
Many lower-income countries are also facing high levels of debt. Right now, there are 64 countries spending more on debt repayments than healthcare, and poor countries owe $40bn in debt this year alone.
When Covid began it made the debt crisis for lower-income countries much worse. Turmoil in global markets, and a crash in the price of the exports of lower-income countries increased the debt. And all this at a time when they are trying to fight Covid.
Next month our government has a chance to lead on a global response by calling for debt cancellation at the G20 Finance Ministers meeting on July 18th.
Please will you write to the Chancellor Rishi Sunak and ask him to:
* Call for the cancellation of debts to the IMF and World Bank, which could be paid for by a combination of funds from a Special Drawing Rights issuance, gold sales, use of reserves, and donor grants.
* Push for the cancellation of and restructuring of debts to private lenders, rather than bailing-out those lenders with IMF loans.
* Introduce legislation here in the UK to prevent a lender suing a government for following the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative and suspending debt payments.
I would be grateful if you could also reply to me to let me know you have written to him, and also send me his response.
Here is our standardised response:
Many thanks for your email and for making Siobhan aware of your concerns regarding debt cancellation for the poorest countries in light of the coronavirus outbreak.
Siobhan is currently on maternity leave and while she is still working on as many local matters as possible herself, as her office, we are also continuing to raise and represent the views of her constituents.
Please note that Siobhan usually provides full and personalised responses to all campaign issues raised. During her maternity leave she has however asked us to provide you with Government information so you are not waiting for a response. We have investigated and have received the following from Ministers:
The UK has made available up to £150 million to the International Monetary Fund's Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust to help developing countries meet their debt repayments.
Responding to this crisis requires international cooperation. The UK, alongside G20 and the Paris Club of official creditors has committed to a historic suspension of debt repayment from the world's poorest countries. This will see official creditors provide up to $12 billion of cash-flow relief, which, importantly, will enable countries to focus available resources on tackling coronavirus and ensure they can direct greater resources to vital healthcare efforts, rather than interest payments. The Chancellor and G20 Finance Ministers have publicly called for the private sector to voluntarily participate in this initiative as well and, if it did so to the full extent, that would provide another $10 billion of breathing space for these countries.
The agreement also provides time to assess what further assistance these countries may need as the full economic impact becomes clearer, for example future restructuring of debt may be needed. The Government is keeping all options under review.
The UK is at the forefront of the global response to Covid-19. There has never been a more important time for us to be out in the world, delivering our 0.7 commitment and helping the most vulnerable in the world's poorest countries.
If there is any specific action you would like us to take on this issue, please let us know. Also, if you would like to see Siobhan at a surgery appointment later in the year, or have a surgery appointment in the meantime with her office, we would be very happy to arrange this for you.
I hope you are keeping well. Our office is assisting constituents during the Covid 19 pandemic and if we can be of any assistance to you, please do let us know.