NGO Experts say Tory claims on tackling global poverty ring hollow

As published in The Observer today

As practitioners in the field of international development, we write to challenge the claims that there is a consensus between the parties when it comes to tackling global poverty.

Take the issue of promises on aid. The welcome shift in Conservative policy to back the 0.7% promise in 2005 has been much vaunted by David Cameron, but despite repeated requests they have refused clearly to commit to ensure aid is not diverted for other purposes. Their commitment to the 0.7% target risks looking like political positioning rather than a serious commitment to tackling global poverty.

As concerning as how much the Conservatives will actually spend on tackling global poverty is how they suggest spending it. Access to basic services like health and education are basic rights. Conservative proposals to distribute vouchers for private schools in slums, to create an X-Factor-style competition to decide who gets aid, and a shift to private provision of healthcare, look like crude attempts to export failed ideological or populist policies, against the advice of leading practioners and aid charities.

Though we would much like there to be, there is no consensus on this issue. Instead, there is a serious choice about whether and how Britain should help the world’s poorest people.

Richard Bennett CBE

Former chair, Make Poverty History

Dr Ann Pettifor

Co-founder, Jubilee 2000

Lord Joffe

Former chair, Oxfam GB

Kel Currah

Former deputy director of advocacy, World Vision International

Gordon: Our commitment to making poverty history

Gordon Brown speaks at the international development #GBontheRoad event, Saturday 17th April.Here is a quick message from Gordon Brown from Labour’s blog on the campaign trail:

“One part of Labour’s record that has inspired a lot of young people in particular is our commitment to making poverty history. I have given a number of speeches about that over the years, but today I did another GB on the Road event to give people the chance to ask whatever questions they wanted about foreign policy and development.  Labour’s manifesto also includes a pledge to put our target of spending 0.7% of national income on aid into law and you can watch why that matters here.

And just think what we have already achieved working with other countries:

– almost 50 million more children are in school than ten years ago

– record numbers of children are reaching their fifth birthday and

– millions more peopke are getting lifesaving healthcare

And we can be proud of the role Britain is playing in the world. Because with a  Labour government we have seen:

– the trebling of aid

– the cancelling of debt and

– the worldwide ban on cluster bombs

These are amazing Labour achievements, but they do not belong to me, or Tony, or Hilary, or David or Douglas; they belong to you. You did this; be very, very proud.”