UK government asked to keep up pressure on World Bank

By staff writers
December 8, 2006

The British-based international development agency Christian Aid has called on UK international development secretary Hilary Benn to continue to use his influence to lever more reform at the World Bank.

On Tuesday 5 December 2006, the UK government decided to release the £50 million it had withheld from the World Bank earlier this year in response to a report by the Bank that it has reduced the number of conditions it attaches to loans and debt relief.

"The task at hand is not complete," said Olivia McDonald, Christian Aid’s senior policy officer, responding to the move.

She continued: "The World Bank's latest report shows that it is still attaching economic conditions to aid. It continues to push for privatisation and liberalisation, sometimes even under the guise of improving governance. This directly contravenes the government’s own policy and it is hypocritical for us to continue funding the Bank when its economic policies have been proven to cause so much damage to poor people."

"Christian Aid applauds Hilary Benn's initiative on this issue. We urge him continue to be bold and to push for deeper, genuine reform", she added.

"The UK is the World Bank's biggest donor after the United States. Mr Benn should use this financial clout to bring about lasting change, "either by reducing the UK's next contribution to the Bank or by making it conditional on a total halt to economic policy conditions," concluded Ms McDonald.

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