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Retired Civil Servants: Ministerial Instructions

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

Earl Howe: Retired civil servants are no longer subject to direct ministerial instruction. They are, however, still under a duty of confidentiality in relation to official information obtained during their employment unless formally released from it by the relevant Minister.

UK Residents' Currency Exchange Costs and EU Visits

Lord Monkswell asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Social Security (Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish): An estimate of the average cost per visit of changing pounds sterling into foreign currency is not available. There were 28.7 million visits made by United Kingdom residents abroad to other EU countries in 1994; an additional 860,000 visits were made to Austria, Sweden and Finland, which have since joined the EU. Further information is available in Table 19 of Travel Trends, a copy of which is available in the House of Lords Library.

Sterling: Withdrawal from ERM

Lord Tebbit asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: It is not possible to assess the precise effects of sterling's departure from the ERM. However, during sterling's membership of the ERM, inflation fell sharply and the economy began to recover from recession. The Government's policies of securing sustainable growth based on low inflation have built on this foundation. Recovery is now into its fourth year, unemployment has fallen by over 750,000 since its peak in 1992 and inflation has been below 4 per cent. for 40 consecutive months, the best performance for almost 50 years.

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IMF and World Bank: Countries in Default or Arrears

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Which countries are currently in default or in arrears of interest on loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or World Bank.

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: As of 15th February 1996, eight members of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) were one month or more overdue in settling their overdue financial obligations to the fund; these were Afghanistan, Equatorial Guinea, Iraq, Liberia, Serbia and Montenegro-Federal Republic Yugoslavia, Somalia, Sudan and Zaire. As of 3rd March 1996, nine members of the World Bank Group were in non-accrual status. These were Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iraq, Liberia, Somalia, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Zaire. In addition, a further twelve had small, short-term arrears.

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What sums were owed to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank in 1980, 1990 and at the most recent convenient date; whether these figures can be broken down by continents; and what amount is now owed by the 30 poorest countries.

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: The sums owed to the International Monetary Fund and World Bank are set out in the tables below. As at 31st December 1995, the total amount owed to the IMF by the 33 members classified by the World Bank as severely-indebted low-income countries was SDR 4.7 billion. As at end-June 1995, the severely-indebted low-income countries owed US$7.2 billion to the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and US$25.1 billion to the International Development Association (IDA).

IMF credit and loans outstanding (SDR millions)

December 1980December 1990December 1995
Asia and Australasia2,6373,6094,847
Middle East305154350
Western Hemisphere1,02012,86117,973

(1) Includes all credits to Russia.

(2) Components may not sum to total due to rounding.

World Bank: Loans outstanding $ million

Sub-Saharan Africa3,2288,5988,6392,32914,02727,980
East Asia and Pacific5,67421,36932,2748034,0458,925
South Asia1,4368,78414,6866,60020,50230,273
Latin America and Caribbean8,70731,99639,3653959982,187
Middle East and North Africa2,7447,68711,2107071,7742,175
Europe and Central Asia4,2429,70416,381190159484

All the fiscal years above run to end-June.

11 Mar 1996 : Column WA53

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