§ Mr. Healey
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what action the Government are taking to speed up the implementation of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative. 
§ Ms Hewitt
At the Annual Meetings of the IMF and World Bank in October 1998 the Chancellor secured agreement on his proposals for a comprehensive review of the HIPC initiative in 1999, and is currently pressing for the review to address, among other things, the timing of debt relief given under the initiative.
The decision was also taken to allow IMF post conflict assistance programmes to count towards a country's track record under the HIPC initiative. This could bring decision points (and therefore debt relief) forward by up to twelve months for certain countries such as Rwanda.
§ Ms Hewitt
31 out of 40 countries originally identified by the IMF/World Bank as being eligible for inclusion into the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative have begun the process of securing a sustainable exit to their debt burden. Two countries have reached the end of the process. A further seven countries have reached Decision Point.
The IMF/World Bank are to carry out a comprehensive review of the HIPC initiative this year.