Read Harriet Harman’s letter to LCID’s members

When she was appointed Shadow International Development Secretary, we wrote to Harriet Harman, congratulating her on her new brief and telling her about our work. Harriet’s been back in touch with a letter addressed to all LCID’s members, making it her passion for development clear.

We are really excited about building on the great foundations that we made with the Labour Party over the last 9 months and we’re glad Harriet is as keen to work with us too.

Here’s her letter:

Dear LCID Member

I wanted to get in touch in my role as Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for International Development,  firstly to thank you for all your hard work to date and secondly to outline some of the areas we will be focusing ahead on going ahead.

As you know Labour has much to be proud of when it comes to international development. From tripling the international aid budget to our leadership at Gleneagles we put the UK at the forefront of the fight against global poverty and I am immensely proud of that.

In these difficult economic times and faced with this Government’s deep cuts to public spending it is more important than ever that we make the argument for international development. We cannot turn our backs on the world’s poorest – not only is it morally right to ensure everybody, no matter where they are born, can grow up free of poverty but it is in our national interest. I hope you as an organisation will continue to work to communicate that message.

Moving ahead we will be working to hold the government to account for their promises. We welcome the commitment they made in the Spending Review to reach the target of 0.7% of our GNI on Aid from 2013 but we are worried about how they will get there. That is why we will be calling on them to introduce legislation as soon as possible so there can be no doubt about their commitment.  We will also be urging them to make sure that poverty reduction remains at the heart of our development policy – that is the best way to ensure it is truly effective.

Finally, with the new United Nation’s Women’s agency we, as a party, have a real opportunity to support efforts towards greater gender equality. Of course there are many more areas of international development policy that we will be discussing in the months ahead and I look forward to engaging with you in those conversations.

Labour has a strong International Development team working in parliament. Mark Lazarowicz MP is our Shadow Minister of State, and Rushanara Ali MP is Shadow Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State. We all greatly look forward to working closely together with the Labour Campaign for International Development  in the future.

Regards

Rt Hon Harriet Harman QC MP
Shadow Secretary of State for International Development

New Shadow Secretary sets up local international development group

The new Shadow International Development Secretary, Harriet Harman, has established an international development advisory panel in her constituency, Camberwell and Peckham. The new panel, which will be hosted using virtual groups will have regular contact with and will meet regularly at Southwark Town Hall in Peckham.

Speaking about the panel and her new brief, Harriet Harman said:

“I am honoured and privileged to have been appointed Shadow Secretary of State for International Development.

Setting up the Department for International Development was one of the most important acts of the previous Labour Government. Making sure this government maintains our commitment will be my main objective.

They must recognise the importance of remittances – the money which many people in the UK send money back to their country of origin. This money is a vital, largely unseen, contribution to tackling poverty and helping development.

And they must focus on the importance of supporting women and girls in developing countries.”

We’d like to know if you know of, or run, a local international development group. Let us know, either by commenting on this article or emailing tim@lcid.org.uk.

By Tim Nicholls

Harriet Harman responds to the Comprehensive Spending Review

Statement from Harriet Harman, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for International Development, on the Comprehensive Spending Review:

“We welcome the government’s commitment to continue with Labour’s target of 0.7% of GNI on overseas aid from 2013 but freezing the percentage of aid for two  years will inevitably beg the question about whether they will deliver on that commitment.  This makes it all the more urgent that they bring forward  the legislation that they promised and enshrine in law the requirement to meet the 0.7% target from 2013.”

“The government is asking for a great leap of faith for us to trust that they will  increase the aid budget by 30% in 3 years time so they must bring forward the legislation to  Parliament which will enshrine their commitment in law.   The Bill is already drafted and we will give it full co-operation for its passage through Parliament.  Failure to do so will only raise fears that they remain in doubt about whether they will actually keep their promise.”

“In the meantime we will be watching very closely to see that the DFID budget is spent on poverty relief and not siphoned off for military or other purposes.”