Debt relief

Kiran Stacey

Figures published yesterday by UK Export Finance (which used to be called the Export Credit Guarantee Department) give a glimpse into the debts owed to Britain by other (usually developing) countries, and why they were taken on in the first place.

The figures show the total debts taken on by any country that still owes some. To that extent they are limited: we don’t know how much each of these countries owes, nor how much we have lent to other countries in the past.

But what they do show is that the UK has a long record of lending money to repressive regimes, often to buy British-made weapons, which were then sometimes used against civilians.