Later today, the Labour Campaign for International Development will have its official launch in an event at the House of Commons. This is an exciting day for LCID: we have already begun the debate about International Development on this website and now we have the chance to push forward, to gain support for a progressive, Labour, approach to International Development in this country. This purpose is clear to our Prime Minister, Gordon Brown:
“Tackling poverty is one of the greatest causes of our time. The Labour Party and the Labour Government has been on the frontline in the fight against global poverty and now the Labour Campaign for International Development will provide a way in which members who care about the issue can keep informed, contribute policy and help keep it high on the agenda.”
A belief in the empowerment and progress that aid and assistance provide has been at the core of the Labour movement for many years. Our group aims to build on this support, and the amazing progress that the Labour Government of the last 13 years has delivered, to go further. The job is far from done. Although our nation’s aid helps lift 3 million people out of poverty every year, around a billion people still live on less than a dollar a day.
The Left will not sit back and relax whilst this is still the case. The Government has introduced draft legislation to commit the UK to spend 0.7% of national income on foreign aid. This landmark bill would cement the UK’s position as a world leader in International Development.
“The creation of DFID is one of the greatest achievements of this Labour government. It has become so established here in the UK and around the world that it is easy to forget that it didn’t exist before 1997. But back then Britain used to be considered something of a road-block to effective international action to tackle global poverty. That has been transformed since 1997 and the UK is now a world leader in the international development community. We have taken a lead role on a range of initiatives – from the Millennium Development Goals to cancelling the debt of some of the world’s poorest countries. These things simply wouldn’t have happened without a Labour government.
Labour has a record to be proud of – but there is still so much more to do. I see that regularly through my experience as a member of the House of Commons International Development Committee. That’s why it is so important that Labour party members and supporters keep up the pressure for action to tackle global poverty. That’s why it is so important that we secure a fourth-term Labour government to enable these things to happen. And that’s why I am so pleased about the establishment of the Labour Campaign for International Development. It will be a challenge to this new group both to highlight our achievements and to push the international development agenda within the party forward.
I am disappointed to be missing tonight’s launch event – I am currently in Zimbabwe with the International Development Committee along with my Labour colleagues John Battle and Hugh Bayley – but I look forward to working with LCID as we move towards the general election and beyond.”
– Richard Burden MP, Member of the International Development Select Committee
LCID will also be exploring the debate on International Development up to, and beyond, the general election. We scrutinise the work of all parties and act in the interests of development, not politics.
“It is great to see the many supporters of the cause of international development within the Labour Party coming together in this new group. I hope it can provide a significant focus for campaigning and new ideas in the run up to the general election, and help set an ambitious agenda for global social justice in a fourth-term Labour government.”
– Douglas Alexander MP, Secretary of State for International Development
We are excited about the future that lies ahead of LCID and we hope you can be a part of it. If you can come to our launch this evening, at 5.15 in Committee Room 12, House of Commons, please come along. Beyond the launch, we will be campaigning, writing and debating, so please get in touch if you want to get involved.
If you can’t make our event, we will be tweeting from it, so you can follow what is going on using the #labourcid hashtag.
By Tim Nicholls