The Jubilee Debt Campaign has scored its biggest debt-release victory since 1999 with Chancellor Gordon Brown's announcement last week that Britain would unilaterally cancel its share of the debt paid to the World Bank by the world's poorest countries.
Brown revealed his plans at the Labour Party conference. Now the campaign is awaiting the outcome of last weekend's International Monetary Fund and World Bank annual meetings, where it hopes that finance and development ministers of the richest 'G7' countries will have been persuaded to follow Britain's lead.
Ashok Sinha, co-ordinator of the Jubilee Debt Campaign, a coalition of more than 60 voluntary sector bodies, said: "The debt crisis isn't over, but the UK has taken a bold step towards ending it. Brown's announcement excludes debt paid to the IMF, but the bulk of debt owed is much larger on average for the World Bank than the IMF."
He is calling on the Chancellor to encourage the IMF to sell as much of its gold reserves as is needed to cover debts owed to it.
Sinha said the campaign's biggest victory was during the G8 summit in 1999, when leaders agreed to a $100bn debt release.