Cameron reneges on his “promise to the world’s poorest people”. Again

The government once again failed to introduce legislation committing the UK to spending 0.7 per cent of GNI on international development in the Queen’s Speech today.

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The government once again failed to introduce legislation committing the UK to spending 0.7 per cent of GNI on international development in the Queen’s Speech today.

International-developmentAs the Indy reports, the repeated failure to legislate runs contrary to the coalition agreement and the Tory manifesto:

The coalition agreement stated that Britain would meet the United Nations target from 2013, and would make it a legal requirement to stick to the commitment.

The Conservative manifesto for the 2010 election said a Tory government would legislate in the first session of Parliament to lock in this level of spending from next year.

But there was no bill in the legislative agenda for 2012-13 set out by the Queen in Parliament this morning.

Reacting to the news, Christian Aid’s Sol Oyuela said:

“We welcome the government’s commitment to raising the aid budget to 0.7 per cent from 2013, but we are very disappointed that it has yet to live up to its pledge to legislate on this.

“This was not just a Coalition promise. It was a promise made to the world’s poorest people and one which we just cannot renege on.

“Protecting the 0.7 per cent in law would safeguard the aid budget from future political jockeying, guaranteeing effective and predictable spending to fight global poverty whichever party is in power. And it would also enable the UK to exert more pressure on other EU countries to move towards the UN goal of a 0.7 per cent aid commitment from rich countries.

“Only recently the European Commissioner for Development praised the UK for its leadership on aid provision: enshrining the figure in law would have only enhanced our standing internationally.”


See also:

0.7% delayed again; Cameron appeases backbenchers, world’s poorest suffer 24 Apr 2012

The Lords anti-0.7% report is misguided, misleading and out of touch 29 Mar 2012

Budget 2012: The consequences of failing to hit the 0.7% aid target laid bare 21 Mar 2012

Tories delay enshrining 0.7% target in law. Again. When will they legislate? 2 Feb 2012

Conservatives to meet aid target by counting ‘made up’ debt relief as aid 9 Jan 2012

Tories are balancing the books on the backs of the world’s poorest 2 Dec 2011

An open letter to David Cameron on the importance of the 0.7% aid target 17 May 2011


As Left Foot Forward noted in March, the consequences of failing to hit the target are severe – by getting to 0.7% the UK will:

• Put 15.9 million children in school;

• Provide more than 80 million children with vaccines against life-threatening diseases, saving an estimated 1.4 million lives;

• Help 44.9 million people participate in freer and fairer elections;

• Provide access to safe drinking water to more than 17 million people;

• Help 77.6 million people access formal financial services, such as bank accounts or credit, which are the basics needed to start a business;

• Ensure 5.8 million births take place in a safe environment, saving the lives of more than 50,000 mothers.

Unlike his other broken promises, this really is a matter of life and death for the world’s poorest people; Cameron has the mandate to stand up to his anti-aid backbenchers, he just doesn’t have the will.


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