Some of the world’s most illiberal regimes – including Burma, Iran and Zimbabwe – owe the UK debts worth more than £2bn, new figures reveal.
The list of 16 indebted countries, almost a third of which have no agreed final payment date, also includes Egypt, Iraq , North Korea and Sudan.
Sudan owes the UK more than £663m, the bulk of which is thought to be interest, while Indonesia is in the red to the tune of £445m. Iraq’s bill to the UK totals £290m, meanwhile Zimbabwe owes more than £190m.
The new statistics emerged after Labour MP Andrew Gwynne tabled a parliamentary question last month asking the Export Credits Guarantee Department (ECGD) to come clean about the extent of debt and expected repayment.
The ECGD, which reports to Vince Cable (pictured), the Secretary of State for Business, was originally established to aid British business abroad, offering insurance to companies’ dealings.
However, fears have been raised by MPs that public money has funded deals that “fuel poverty, human rights abuses and