§ Mr. Simon Hughes
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many countries are receiving debt relief through the Highly Indebted Poor Countries initiative. 
§ Miss Melanie Johnson
[holding answer 16 January 2001]: So far 22 countries have reached Decision Point under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative. This is the point where debt relief has been agreed; 100 per cent. relief in the case of the UK.
The Chancellor announced on 2 December last year that the UK would no longer benefit from the historic debts of the 41 HIPC countries. This means that, for those countries yet to secure debt relief because of civil wars, external conflict, or absence of a poverty reduction programme, all payments will be held in trust for the day that they become eligible for debt relief.