Disappointment after Queen’s Speech neglects aid
Published 09 May 2012
Christian Aid has expressed its disappointment after the Queen’s Speech failed to make mention of legislation on aid spending.
The Government has pledged to raise the aid budget to 0.7 per cent of gross national income from 2013, but Christian Aid’s chief political adviser, Sol Oyuela, is concerned by the delay to legislating on the commitment.
“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,” she said.
“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.”
All three parties promised to make the 0.7 per cent aid commitment a legal obligation in their manifestos at the last election. It was also mentioned in the Coalition Agreement between the Tories and the Lib Dems.
Ms Oyuela said legislation would ensure that the government was “entirely accountable to parliament” for aid delivery.
“In addition, it would ensure aid is maintained at an affordable level. Just as absolute aid levels may fall when Britain’s income goes down, so too should they rise when the national income rises,” she said.
Christian Aid’s disappointment was shared by Oxfam. The charity’s senior policy adviser, Kathleen Spencer Chapman, said there was no reason for the delay.
“"The Government deserves credit for sticking to its aid promises during bad times as well as good. But we are disappointed at the absence of a Bill to enshrine in law Britain's commitment to providing life-saving medicines, schooling and clean water for the poorest people on the planet.
"There is no reason to delay a Bill which has all-party support, would protect life-saving aid from future politicking and would increase the UK's standing on the world stage."
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