An open letter to David Cameron on the importance of the 0.7% target

David Taylor, chair of the Labour Campaign for International Development, on why David Cameron should stand firm on the 0.7 per cent international development target.

David Taylor is the chair of the Labour Campaign for International Development (@LabourCID)

Dear Prime Minister Cameron,

The commitment for the UK to enshrine in law our promise to spend 0.7% of GNI on overseas development assistance was in both the Conservative general election manifesto and the coalition agreement.

The attempt by your defence secretary to dump this pledge by stealth (Leaked letter [£] in The Times, 17 May) undermines government policy on international development and threatens to undo Britain’s proud position as global leaders on this issue. Playing politics with people’s lives is simply unacceptable.

Dr Fox’s letter complains that improvements in transparency and accountability at the Department for International Development will prevent him from reporting defence spending as ODA. This runs completely counter to attempts to maximise value for money at DFID (and across HMG) and the chancellor’s Google speech yesterday on access to information.

It is shocking that Fox would prefer a situation where the aid budget is cut up in back room deals owing more to Conservative party machinations than to the most effective ways to allocate British taxpayers’ money.

Fox also creates a false choice between development spending and defence. It is not a decision between aircraft carriers and schools and hospitals, as he insinuates. By making smart investments in poor countries the UK can help prevent future conflicts and extremism. You will know that DFID has explicitly chosen to target fragile and conflict states for his reason.

This is one of the most fundamental elements of a smart power strategy in the 21st century – and it is extraordinary that your defence secretary has chosen to play cheap politics rather than recognise this. We ask you to urgently clarify the government’s timetable for introducing the 0.7 bill – a piece of legislation that today’s events have proven is now needed more than ever.

Yours sincerely,

The Labour Campaign for International Development

19 Responses to “An open letter to David Cameron on the importance of the 0.7% target”

  1. Lorraine Bellis

    RT @leftfootfwd: An open letter to David Cameron on the importance of the 0.7% target: http://bit.ly/lJF97H by @LabourCID's @DavidTaylor85

  2. Jen

    RT @leftfootfwd: An open letter to David Cameron on the importance of the 0.7% target: http://bit.ly/lJF97H by @LabourCID's @DavidTaylor85

  3. Mark Conway

    If we were not sending millions in aid to countries like India and China who, themselves, spend billions on weapons, nuclear capability, armed forces and oppressing their own people, I would have more sympathy for this argument. Surely if we must give this aid it should be distributed via respectable charities like the Red Cross and Medecin sans Frontieres rather than endlessly corrupt governments?

  4. Marta Owczarek

    RT @leftfootfwd: An open letter to David Cameron on the importance of the 0.7% target: http://bit.ly/lJF97H by @LabourCID's @DavidTaylor85

  5. LCID

    An open letter from @LabourCID to David Cameron on the importance of the 0.7% target http://fb.me/11Vaprces

  6. Tom Baker

    RT @leftfootfwd: An open letter to David Cameron on the importance of the 0.7% target: http://bit.ly/lJF97H by @LabourCID's @DavidTaylor85

  7. Ed's Talking Balls

    Nonsense.

    Liam Fox is completely right on this.

    There are better uses to which the government could put taxpayers’ money than, for example, giving it to states which harbour terrorists and spend much of their money on weapons.

    Besides, governments should not commit themselves to spending proportion X of their budget on cause Y, etc. They should leave themselves free to allocate resources in whatever way is appropriate.

  8. Robbie Barkell

    RT @LabourCID: An open letter from @LabourCID to David Cameron on the importance of the 0.7% target http://fb.me/11Vaprces

  9. Νέα Νέμεσις Εργασίας

    Govt announcement on International Aid great news for Learjet and Mercedes salesmen @leftfootfwd http://bit.ly/lJF97H #ukuncut

  10. Martyn Geddes

    Govt announcement on International Aid great news for Learjet and Mercedes salesmen @leftfootfwd http://bit.ly/lJF97H #ukuncut

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  12. mr. Sensible

    Couldn’t agree more, David.

    I have to say I am also more than a bit bored of certain commentators looking to use foreign aid as a scapegoat for this government’s decision to cut public spending way too far and way too fast.

    That is the true reason why the most vulnerable in our society are suffering, not because we’re helping the genuinely needy around the world, and I look forward to this timetable being published without further delay.

  13. Jiesheng

    Did you guys delete my comments? I emphasise again, this is a over foucs on aid targets and no focus on aid effectiveness

  14. Anon E Mouse

    Jiesheng – If you post a lot of links then the moderators on this fine blog have to check they’re not spam and that’s why it looks like your comments aren’t getting posted.

    Regarding David Taylor please remember he actually believes that Gordon Brown was both a good finance minister and Prime Minister.

    It’s unlikely that David Taylor with his scant grasp of reality would be willing to engage in an honest way.

    Overseas aid should not be given to countries that spend their own money on nuclear weapons….

  15. Jiesheng

    Anon E Mouse,

    Thanks. I was afraid they were going to ban my comments as Taylor’s LCID has done so.

    I stand by my view that you can’t ask for 0.7% without figuring out its history, its usefulness, and AID EFFECTIVENESS!

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