UK settles WWII debts to allies





Britain will settle its World War II debts to the US and Canada when it pays two final instalments before the close of 2006, the Treasury has said.

The payments of $83.25m (£42.5m) to the US and US$22.7m (£11.6m) to Canada are the last of 50 instalments since 1950.

The amount paid back is nearly double that loaned in 1945 and 1946.

"This week we finally honour in full our commitments to the US and Canada for the support they gave us 60 years ago," said Treasury Minister Ed Balls. ...

Under the lend-lease programme, which began in March 1941, the then neutral US could provide countries fighting Adolf Hitler with war material.

The US joined the war soon after - in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbour - and the programme ended in 1945.

Equipment left over in Britain at the end of hostilities and still needed had to be paid for.

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