Queen's Speech: Government's commitment to help the world's poor people may be under threat

Posted by Mike Smith UK Public Affairs Coordinator

9th May 2012

Oxfam's Birth Rights campaign has been demonstrating the vital difference that aid spending can have on the lives of mothers and their children in Ghana. Motivated by this, thousands of you have been writing to your MPs to support the Government's promise to invest 0.7% of national income in lifesaving aid. The Government had also promised to introduce a law on development spending to safeguard this commitment in the future.

Today in the Queen's Speech, although the commitment to increasing aid spending was confirmed, no law was announced. This is disappointing, and a missed opportunity for the Government to make their commitment to the poorest people in the world even clearer. 

We need to remember why this commitment is so crucial. We live in a world of huge inequality, where roughly 1 billion people still go hungry every day. Development spending makes a profound difference to the lives of millions of ordinary people all around the world.  It has paid for the healthcare which has helped save the lives of millions who otherwise would have died of preventable diseases. 33 million children are going to school for the first time because of aid money. This investment helps many of the most vulnerable people in the world to lift themselves and their families out of poverty.

The UK deserves credit for keeping its promises to the poorest people on the planet, and the most important thing is to keep the pressure up so that in 2013, we reach the historic target of 0.7%. But enshrining in law that promise to the poorest is important to make sure that life-saving medicines and education don't become the victims of future political fashions. That is why we are calling on the Government to bring forward the legislation as soon as possible.

Now more than ever we need to send a message to our MPs and to the Government to live up to their commitment to the world's poorest people.  Please join with Oxfam in making your voice heard by:

 

Suggested letter for your MP:

 

Dear ________,

I'm writing to you as my local MP because I am concerned and disappointed that the expected legislation on development spending was not included in this year's the Queen's Speech. I feel that the Government should live up to the promises made to the world's poorest people and bring this legislation forward as soon as possible.

As you know, all major political parties have supported plans to bring forward legislation to commit to spending 0.7% of National Income on development aid. Although the Government has said it will still reach the 0.7% spending target by 2013 enshrining this in legislation is important to make sure life saving medicines and education do not fall victim to changing political preferences in future.

I am proud that our country has committed to spending 0.7% of national income on life saving aid.  Development spending makes a profound difference to the lives of millions of ordinary people all around the world. It has paid for the healthcare which that has helped to save the lives of millions who otherwise would have died of preventable diseases.  33 million children are going to school for the first time because of aid money. This investment helps many of the most vulnerable people in the world to lift themselves and their families out of poverty

It is now more important than ever that the Government lives up to its commitment to the poorest people in the world. I ask you as my MP to write to the Development Secretary and the Chancellor of the Exchequer to express my support for legislation on 0.7% as soon as possible.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.  I look forward to hearing from you in due course.

Blog post written by Mike Smith

UK Public Affairs Coordinator

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