IMF Social Spending Floors: A fig leaf for austerity?
The International Monetary Fund has said that it protects spending on education, health and social protection from cuts in its loan programmes through social spending floors. These measures are a welcome step forward, but are they effective?
Analysis of all 17 IMF loan programmes (Extended Credit Facilities, or ECFs, and Extended Fund Facilities, or EFFs) for low- and middle-income countries during the first two years of the pandemic shows that these floors are deeply inadequate, inconsistent, opaque and failing. They are little more than a fig leaf for harmful austerity, which is driving inequality, poverty and suffering.
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