There must be cross-party commitment to passing the 0.7% international aid bill

Today is an opportunity to help deliver (possibly the only) promise that was in all three Parties' manifestos

E-mail-sign-up Donate

 

.
Today presents a rare opportunity to ensure a commitment made in the election manifestos of all three parties and the coalition agreement is honoured – the pledge to enshrine the UK’s spending of 0.7% of gross national income into law.

LCIDLabour and Co-operative MP Mark Hendrick has tabled a Private Member’s Bill on the issue, which is due a second reading, but will fall unless there is enough parliamentary time to debate it.

Unfortunately, there is not normally enough time to debate more than two Private Member’s Bills.

With this bill third on the list, the sponsors of the first two bills would have to agree to curb the time spent debating their own bills – or agree to drop one – if the 0.7% bill were to have any chance of being discussed.

After the partisan bickering of the past week over the Libor rate, the Conservatives have an excellent opportunity to give time to an issue on which, for once, we all agree on.

One of the two Conservative MPs whose bills are ahead of Hendrick’s is Richard Harrington, and as a committed member of the International Select Committee there will surely be few keener to see this bill pass than he.

Secretary of State Andrew Mitchell has claimed that only limited parliamentary time has prevent this law from being passed already. We at the Labour Campaign for International Development (LCID) and the wider development movement, have taken those reassurances in good faith – and the time has come for that faith to be honoured.

Harrington and Mitchell should work together both to ensure there is enough time for the bill to be debated and that Conservative MPs vote it through.

If they do not it will only serve to undermine confidence in this government’s commitment to reach the 0.7% target. Whilst the headline promise remains welcome, there are increasing reasons to be concerned.

First, rather than increase DFID’s budget steadily to the target, the government announced in 2010 it would freeze spending for the first two years, essentially withholding £2.2bn that could have been spent vaccinating children, training teachers and providing life-saving ARVs.

Then in the Autumn Statement last year it was announced that because GNI projections are likely to be lower than previously forecast, 0.7% will equate to less money and so the budget is to be reduced further. But GNI is not down because of an act of God – it is down because the governments’ austerity policies are failing and are choking off growth.

 


See also:

Winning the battle on aid spending means making smarter messages 25 Jun 2012

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

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

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


 

Effectively a £1.2bn cut to the aid budget it made their promise “not to balance the books on the backs of the world’s poorest people” look rather hollow.

And then in May the government’s own 0.7% bill was omitted from the Queen’s speech and DFID’s revised business plan pushed by the target for delivery of this legislation was March 2015 – meaning that the passing of Hendrick’s Private Member’s Bill is the only way which the Conservatives can avoid breaking their election promise.

With all of this happening against a backdrop of fierce opposition from backbench Conservative MPs and the right-wing press, it’s no wonder the development sector is getting worried.

Yet as things stand there has been no public campaigning by charities to support the passing of the Private Member’s Bill today. Charities do not think they can back the bill because it does not have MPs from different parties co-sponsoring the bill (both Alison McGovern and Michael McCann are Labour MPs on the International Development Select Committee).

Whilst this would have been preferable, charities are making the wrong judgement and a poor strategic decision. There have been many times when charities across all sectors in the UK and abroad have supported individual MPs, senators or governments to push through bills that advance their causes. But in any case surely there is no better example of cross party consensus than a promise that was in all three parties manifestos?

Mark Hendrick MP even offered to use the government’s draft bill as the basis for his own. Charities worried about losing access by being critical of the government need not be – any public campaigning or lobbying could be framed positively as a chance for the Government to deliver on their own promise.

The last Labour government provided strong leadership on development most notably in the  historic aid and debt deals agreed at the G8 in 2005. Pushing this 0.7% bill is an important part of continuing that leadership in opposition.

But because development is more than just aid, we welcome shadow secretary of state Ivan Lewis MP calling for new global covenant that focuses on tackling inequality. And welcome too that Labour’s treasury team have been seeking amendments on government finance bills affecting commodity speculation and tax avoidance by UK companies abroad.

Andrew Mitchell likes to claim there is ‘not a Labour, Conservative or Liberal policy, but a British policy on international development.’ We strongly disagree. But on this issue at least, today is an opportunity to help deliver (possibly the only) promise that was in all three manifestos – and wider and more vocal support is urgently needed if that promise it to be kept.

 


Sign-up to our weekly email • Donate to Left Foot Forward

34 Responses to “There must be cross-party commitment to passing the 0.7% international aid bill”

  1. Co-operative Party

    Today #CoopParty MP Mark Hendrick proposes enshrining 0.7% for aid in law. @DavidTaylor85 hopes the Govt gives it time: http://t.co/s4r8FTDa

  2. Lee Hyde

    Today #CoopParty MP Mark Hendrick proposes enshrining 0.7% for aid in law. @DavidTaylor85 hopes the Govt gives it time: http://t.co/s4r8FTDa

  3. Kevin Peel

    Today #CoopParty MP Mark Hendrick proposes enshrining 0.7% for aid in law. @DavidTaylor85 hopes the Govt gives it time: http://t.co/s4r8FTDa

  4. SERA

    Today #CoopParty MP Mark Hendrick proposes enshrining 0.7% for aid in law. @DavidTaylor85 hopes the Govt gives it time: http://t.co/s4r8FTDa

  5. Martin Tiedemann

    Today #CoopParty MP Mark Hendrick proposes enshrining 0.7% for aid in law. @DavidTaylor85 hopes the Govt gives it time: http://t.co/s4r8FTDa

  6. LCID

    .@DavidTaylor85 for @leftfootfwd – Charities need to up their game on 0.7% aid bill http://t.co/okWe0BG8

  7. David Taylor

    There must be cross-party commitment to passing the 0.7% international aid bill, writes @DavidTaylor85: http://t.co/8Sb0hVZO

  8. David Taylor

    My blog for @leftfootfwd – Charities need to up their game on 0.7% aid bill http://t.co/Lz3dai9l

  9. Co-operative Party

    My blog for @leftfootfwd – Charities need to up their game on 0.7% aid bill http://t.co/Lz3dai9l

  10. S London Co-op Voice

    My blog for @leftfootfwd – Charities need to up their game on 0.7% aid bill http://t.co/Lz3dai9l

  11. leftlinks

    Left Foot Forward – There must be cross-party commitment to passing the 0.7% international aid bill http://t.co/yjRVp5hJ

  12. Tara

    There must be cross-party commitment to passing the 0.7% international aid bill, writes @DavidTaylor85: http://t.co/8Sb0hVZO

  13. Mann Virdee

    RT @leftfootfwd: There must be cross-party commitment to passing the 0.7% international aid bill http://t.co/dqsz5BRz

  14. Cllr Matt James

    My blog for @leftfootfwd – Charities need to up their game on 0.7% aid bill http://t.co/Lz3dai9l

  15. Will Slater

    No. We don’t! We need to sort out Social Care for the Elderly!

    People are going to get VERY resentful of this. I am a Labour Party Member and I do not support this at all

  16. Patricia Juby

    My blog for @leftfootfwd – Charities need to up their game on 0.7% aid bill http://t.co/Lz3dai9l

  17. Patricia Juby

    Today #CoopParty MP Mark Hendrick proposes enshrining 0.7% for aid in law. @DavidTaylor85 hopes the Govt gives it time: http://t.co/s4r8FTDa

  18. Richard Darlington

    Excellent article by @DavidTaylor85 on @LeftFootFwd on the need for cross- party commitment to 0.7% #UKAid law: http://t.co/cFZRcF3m

  19. Sue Yardley

    Excellent article by @DavidTaylor85 on @LeftFootFwd on the need for cross- party commitment to 0.7% #UKAid law: http://t.co/cFZRcF3m

  20. Ian Sullivan

    Decent blog from @DavidTaylor85 on @leftfootfwd must be cross-party commitment to passing 0.7% international aid bill http://t.co/87h4jrKz

  21. David Taylor

    Decent blog from @DavidTaylor85 on @leftfootfwd must be cross-party commitment to passing 0.7% international aid bill http://t.co/87h4jrKz

  22. David Taylor

    Surprise surprise, looks like won't be time to debate @CoopParty MP Mark Hendrick's 0.7% aid bill. Read our take here; http://t.co/okWe0BG8

  23. Frazer Goodwin

    Today #CoopParty MP Mark Hendrick proposes enshrining 0.7% for aid in law. @DavidTaylor85 hopes the Govt gives it time: http://t.co/s4r8FTDa

  24. Old Albion

    If this bill falls, despots around the world will be crying into their champagne.

  25. Alex Farrow

    Decent blog from @DavidTaylor85 on @leftfootfwd must be cross-party commitment to passing 0.7% international aid bill http://t.co/87h4jrKz

  26. Alex Farrow

    Surprise surprise, looks like won't be time to debate @CoopParty MP Mark Hendrick's 0.7% aid bill. Read our take here; http://t.co/okWe0BG8

  27. LCID

    You can read our take on the 0.7% aid bill here: http://t.co/okWe0BG8 #aid

  28. Alasdair Roxburgh

    You can read our take on the 0.7% aid bill here: http://t.co/okWe0BG8 #aid

  29. Kirsty McNeill

    Regardless of bill's content, do we want a democracy where manifesto pledges are optional? http://t.co/0lXXRGdA

  30. Social Business Aust

    Today #CoopParty MP Mark Hendrick proposes enshrining 0.7% for aid in law. @DavidTaylor85 hopes the Govt gives it time: http://t.co/s4r8FTDa

  31. Ant

    Today #CoopParty MP Mark Hendrick proposes enshrining 0.7% for aid in law. @DavidTaylor85 hopes the Govt gives it time: http://t.co/s4r8FTDa

  32. Anonymous

    If you are a member of the Labour party you should support its historic commitment to international aid not spout the tory line.

    It is wrong to corrupt the use of aid, but that doesn’t mean we should get rid of aid itself. We should get rid of the abuses and achieve our long-standing, oft repeated but rarely honoured commitments to the world.

  33. Anonymous

    Quite. I can’t support actively increasing the foreign aid budget as a %. Maintaining it, yes, but not increasing it.

  34. BevR

    RT @leftfootfwd: There must be cross-party commitment to passing the 0.7% international aid bill http://t.co/bXZDYaIY

Leave a Reply