Enshrining 0.7% into law. If Not Now, When?
Today’s Queen Speech did not include a commitment to legislate for the 0.7% development target to become law.
The omission is despite the promise in the Coalition Agreement to do just that. In fact, the Tories went one step further in their Manifesto and pledged to “legislate in the first session of a new Parliament to lock this level of spending every year”.
Another broken promise, then.
There is now a strong possibility that this Bill will not be passed before the next General Election, – which the Government did introduce legislation for to fix the date for May 2015. If the Government offer “lack of parliamentary time” as reasoning, we can expect some raised eyebrows. After all, at this Government’s say so, the Commons is subject to lengthy recesses, which mean less time to pass, debate and scrutinise legislation.
The decision to omit legislation of 0.7% from the Queen’s speech is revealing, and the Government’s commitment to development will be called into question again. Appeasing Tory backbenchers unhappy with the 0.7% commitment has triumphed over a cast-iron promise .
This also represents a huge missed opportunity. UK is hosting the G8 next month, and the international community is watching the UK and the Prime Minister closely. Legislating for 0.7% would have sent a strong signal to the world. The Government need to step up their game if they are serious about development.
Bethan Twigg is LCID’s Vice Chair-Policy