Shadow development minister slams Tories swapping aid for trade at Labour conference
Labour has pledged to ringfence Britain’s aid budget at 0.7 per cent of GDP and use the money to fight corruption and empower the world’s women.
Kate Osamor, shadow minister for International Development, told the party conference in Liverpool today that Labour is a party of ‘international socialists’ committed to making the world a better place.
She compared this starkly with the current Tory government, whose Secretary of State for International Development, Priti Patel, has in the past called for that department to be abolished.
Osamor attacked the government for using aid money to promote trade, rather than improving the lives of people in developing countries, and said Labour would tackle the refugee crisis, human trafficking, tax evasion and corrupt elites abroad.
She also stressed the need to improve education for women to increase their economic power.
‘Unlike Priti Patel and the Tories, Labour will not turn the aid budget into a bargaining chip for human lives. Labour values mean making a difference globally. […]
Women make up more than 50 per cent of the world’s population, but 70 per cent of the world’s poor are women.
Women perform 66 per cent of the world’s work, produce 50 per cent of the food, but earn 10 per cent of the income.
There is no policy for development more effective than giving women power.’
She said Britain’s aid budget should ‘priotitise investing in education, giving every child the chance to shine’, along with health programmes and ‘helping people develip their own business, contributing to their local economy – development leading to independent lives’.
Beyond aid, Osamor said Labour would be ‘tough on corruption and tough on the receipts of corruption’:
‘Each year, billions of dollars are stolen from developing countries through tax evasion.
It is larceny on a grand scale that undermines people’s futures and the chance for governments to invest.
The Tories continue to pay lip service to this issue while doing very little to end it.
We cannot call other countries ‘fantastically corrupt’ when the proceeds of their corruption and tax-dodging end up in British tax havens such as the British Virgin Islands, Jersey and Guernsey.
I pledge to you that Labour will tackle international tax evasion that takes the money out of the pockets of the world’s poorest and puts it into the wallets of the world’s wealthiest.’
Osamor also drew a connection between Labour’s domestic record and what it can do globally:
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‘The Labour Party has a great record on backing development initiatives which promote freedom, fairness and equality.
There are millions of people who have escaped poverty, helped by a radical reforming Labour government that invested in education and health. There is a global lesson here.
Labour’s record on internationalism is unrivalled.’