Stars launch Global Poverty Promise

Davina McCall, Mariella Frostrup, Annie Lennox, Richard Wilson and Meera Syal are among the big names launching a new poverty campaign today, the fifth anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s Make Poverty History speech in Trafalgar Square.

In a campaign video released today – shown for the first time at LCID’s launch on Monday – the celebrities invite people to show their support for a new law that would commit the UK to spend 0.7% of national income on development assistance, by signing up to the Global Poverty Promise.

The celebrities use the video to highlight how small 0.7% is – yet how much of a difference it will make to lives in the developing world.

40 years ago the UK made a promise to the world’s poor – to spend just 0.7% of our national income on helping poor countries develop. We now have a chance to make that promise a reality, not just for today but for future generations.

“GlobalPovertyPromise.com is our opportunity to show that we keep our promises, even during difficult times. Whether it’s helping Haiti through a disaster or participating in the long term development of Africa the British public has a proud tradition of looking out for those less fortunate, let’s keep it up.” – Mariella Frostrup

Five years ago Nelson Mandela’s speech in London ahead of the Gleneagles summit launched the Make Poverty History campaign. Today the Department for International Development is publishing an update of the progress the UK has made against the targets set.

Labour has tripled the UK’s aid budget and is committed to spending 0.7% of the UK’s Gross National Income on aid from 2013, with the Overseas Development Bill which was introduced to Parliament last month. The Conservatives have refused to say they would introduce such a law. Aid groups are concerned that the Conservatives’ plans for international development could mean large sums will be diverted from tackling poverty.

Please sign up to the Global Poverty Promise and encourage your friends to do the same!

What is a “socialist Anne Robinson with pom-poms” when it’s at home?

Review of our Launch for Progress Online by LCID exec member and anti-poverty campaigner Steve Cockburn

With a deficit to reduce and public services to protect, why should progressives care about Labour’s commitment to increase aid and work to end global poverty?

The answer at the launch of the Labour Campaign for International Development last night was plain and overwhelming – the values that drive Labour to fight poverty and injustice at home are the very same as those that drive Labour to fight poverty and injustice abroad. The same values that work to ensure employment and a living wage in the UK, also work to provide food, water and healthcare in Africa.

Solidarity, internationalism and a commitment to the poor are at the heart of what progressives care about, and should be at the heart of a governing Labour party. And it is precisely when people across the world are suffering most that these values are needed more than ever.

And it makes a difference. In describing his ‘change we see’ moment, secretary of state for international development Douglas Alexander recalled a school in Uganda which abolished fees on the Friday and saw hundreds of extra children turn up eager to learn on the Monday.

One example of the work the Department for International Development (DfID) has done to lift three million people out of poverty every year. And part of the global struggle to support the one billion people who go hungry every night, and to stop the preventable deaths of 9.7 million children every year.

But also both result from genuine political choices. Investment in aid did not have to treble. Foreign and commercial policy could have stayed as the main determinants of how aid was targeted. Britain did not have to put global poverty and climate change at the top of the international agenda when it chaired the G8 in 2005.

These choices were not those made by past governments, and very different political choices may well be made by future ones. They provide choices for which anti-poverty campaigners and Labour members have fought for, and will need to fight for again and again.

Which is what LCID is about – being a voice for the cause of international development within the Labour party. Both recognising the gains that Labour has made, but also being a critical friend when it needs to do better. Some sort of cross between a cheerleader and watchdog. A socialist Anne Robinson with pom-poms perhaps.

And the second bit of this is as crucial as the first. Those in LCID are passionate about fighting global poverty, and have a vision that they believe Labour should share. It’s not about just cheering from the sidelines. More aid, better aid, and global leadership are all called for. As is a commitment to prioritising global poverty across government activities, beyond aid, and beyond just one department.

And finally, we want the government to back an initiative whose time really has come. LCID is supporting a big campaign about to be launched next week to introduce a ‘Financial Transaction Tax’ to support those struggling in recession at home and abroad. This would be a tiny levy (0.05 per cent) on a range of global financial transactions, which – in no way damaging the market – could raise up to $400 billion if implemented worldwide.

This is money that could be used to invest in people and public services at home while fighting poverty and climate change abroad. It would be taking a tiny slice from the casino economy of international finance, and giving it to those who have suffered most from its excesses.

A big campaign on this issue is coming and we want to see Labour on the right side of this movement, showing that it can lead on the big issues internationally – stabilising the financial system, supporting the British people in times of recession, and promoting global justice and prosperity.

Labour Campaign for International Development is a group of Labour supporters committed to international development. To get join the group and get involved in go to https://lcid.org.uk/action where you can sign up to mailings, join the Facebook group, read the blog and follow us on Twitter.

by Steve Cockburn

Douglas Alexander speaks at Labour Campaign for International Development Launch

Last night, the Labour Campaign for International Development officially launched at an event at the House of Commons, with an impressive audience of politicians, the international development sector and party activists. There was only room to stand as Secretary of State Douglas Alexander began his keynote speech, with Minister Mike Foster also taking questions and Glenys Kinnock, Minister for Africa, in attendance.

Douglas Alexander shared that the Labour movement has long identified itself strongly with international development. Members of the Labour Party fought powerfully for justice in South Africa during apartheid, refusing to ignore Mandela’s long walk to political freedom. Indeed, this passion for equality and justice is the foundation for the Department for International Development (DfID). The New Labour government created the department in 1997 in recognition of the attention that international development deserves and requires. “It is on the shoulders of giants,” such as Glenys Kinnock that the UK’s modern approach to international development stands, Douglas told us.

What makes LCID unique, as Douglas said, is that we represent a group that unquestionably holds Labour values of fairness and justice at its core, and also unequivocally believes in the need for international development. The Tory threat to DfID and the developing world is real: siphoning off money to the Ministry of Defence and the Department of Energy and Climate Change will leave DfID stripped of its power to help the developing world. This is a real threat with a reach that will span the globe.

.

But there is more to be done than exposing the Tories: we must make a positive case for Labour’s approach to international development.

Douglas Alexander highlighted three points that will help us achieve this: meeting our international commitments; getting suggestions for the manifesto; and then taking our case to the public. We support a global financial transaction tax, but we must persuade people that it is the right way forward. We believe that an international development ministry is so much more than an aid agency, but we must persuade people we’re right. We believe that, “by the strength of our common endeavours” we can create lasting positive change, but again, we must persuade people that it’s the right thing to do. This is however, far from an insurmountable task. As Douglas said, events such as the recent Haiti earthquake have shown us that what unites us is the “strength and overriding sense of fairness and compassion in the British public.”

Our money must be well spent and we must be wise with it. This is why a financial transactions tax will give international banks the opportunity to give more back to society. And aid must not be contingent on conformity with a British government’s ideological underpinnings.

In international development, as in many areas of government, there are times and issues said that stick in you memory and drive you on. For Douglas, this was a time about 5 years ago when he left a PMQs preparation session with Tony Blair to see Nelson Mandela speak on Parliament Square. Mandela, once vilified by other British politicians, proclaimed, “Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great.”

It is not pride that motivates us at LCID to rise to this challenge; it is the common belief that a world with less poverty, disease and death benefits us all. We will relentlessly pursue this goal, whether it complements or defies the political ideology of the day. We will construct and respond to the debate. And we welcome everyone that shares our vision, so please do get involved.

Next Steps

LCID wants to build momentum on last night’s launch in the run up to the next election. Here are some of the ways we’d like you to be involved:

1. Help us support Gareth Thomas MP, DFID Minister of State, in Harrow West this Saturday 6th. Meeting at West Harrow Tube station at 11am. Sign up on Facebook.

2. Get more involved with LCID. Please sign up to our email updates, become our Fan on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter. We’d love you to get involved in helping to run LCID, just email David at david@lcid.org.uk

3. Sign the Global Poverty Promise – the campaign to make 0.7% spending on aid UK law.

4. Add your Two Things. Everyone’s Two Things from last night will appear on our blog very shortly!

Thank you, from David Taylor, Tim Nicholls, Serena O’Sullivan, Nick Osbourne, James Anthony, Tim Shand, Daniel Sleat, Tom Baker, Steve Cockburn and all of the LCID Team.

LCID Launch Tonight!

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

Why have The Times got the knives out for DfID?

This post was first posted on Left Foot Forward.

Following on from The Times’s coverage of the International Policy Network’s allegations against DfID’s funding of the TUC – allegations that Left Foot Forward showed to be unfounded – they have once again fuelled the aid sceptics’ fire with several leading articles in their paper today.

The-Times

Here Left Foot Forward examines some of the key points raised and counters them below:

Firstly, The Times’ Leader and articles focuses on Malawi in an attempt to undermine DfID’s transparency and effectiveness.

In particular, they report on the House of Commons Public Account Committee report on DfID’s programme in Malawi. Whilst the Committee’s report does call for a better structure for monitoring results and measuring efficiency, this is not the same as alluding that £312million has “seeped out of sight” as The Times reported it.

DfID’s aid programme in Malawi is far from unsuccessful. The Public Accounts Committee itself acknowledged aid from DFID has actively contributed to progress in Malawi’s development, “such as reduced hunger and substantially improved capacity in the health system”.

In another report by the National Audit Office , DFID was reported as being “well regarded by the Malawian government and scores well against international aid principles”, and having “made well-informed investment choices”.

DfID’s successes in Malawi are comprehensively listed on their website, as they are for every country they work in, and include 4,200 classrooms since 1996, benefiting 430,000 children, and a huge reduction in the number of babies and young children dying before their fiftth birthday – at least 15,000 fewer children die per year compared to 2004.

The Times make further unjustified claims that budget sector support is ineffective and has no strings attached.

Giving money directly to partner-country governments through general budget support helps poor people have access to the basic services which are everyone’s right – such as health and education. It is also an investment for a future world where poor countries are increasingly self-reliant.

Leading NGOs such as Oxfam have strongly advocated for Budget Sector Support for these reasons. The Budget Support Performance Assessment Framework for Malawi is one example of this successful approach.

A joined up initiative with DFID, Norway, the European Commission and African Development Bank, it has helped to provide food security, affordable fertiliser, and helped to get children into schools, vaccinate children against measles, deliver anti-retroviral drugs, distribute bednets and reduce maternal mortality.

In DfID’s evidence to the Parliamentary Accounts Committee, they stated their view that Budget Support or aid to governments is no more liable to fraud than other types of aid.

Of course aid must be accountable, but when The Times talks about “quantifiable strings”, they would do well to read the No Shock Doctrine for Haiti article on Left Foot Forward so see what damage the wrong strings can have when they force countries to submit to damaging economic policies.

A key success of the Make Poverty History campaign was the Government’s pledge in 2005 that UK aid would no longer be tied to trade liberalisation and that must not be reversed.

The Times then appear to be copying the Tories’ lazy assumptions about our aid to India and China.

India may have a growing economy, but they still have 456 million people living below the international poverty line, who cannot access basic services or feed their children adequately.

The Times do not even acknowledge the historic debt that Britain owes to a sub-continent which experienced some of the worst famines ever recorded and whose economy was left devastated by British Colonial Rule, as academics such as Amartya Sen have argued.

On China, The Times and the Conservatives are creating a noise over something that DfID is already doing. As Left Foof Forward has reported previously, the 2006-2011 country plan states that the Government are already phasing out our aid to China, switching to a relationship based on dialogue and cooperation helping them achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

The Times’s running theme is an attempt to cast doubt on both DfID’s transparency and its effectiveness.

Even if improvements need to be made in DfID’s Malawi programme, The Times should not be using an individual project to undermine all of our UK aid.

The accusations of The Times and other aid sceptics don’t stand up under the spotlight, as we have demonstrated on Left Foot Forward with our analysis of the allegations around DfID’s funding of the TUC, and the Tories’ proposed policies.

DfID’s website comprehensively lists all of their projects, country plans, successes, annual reports and accounts, and expenditure statistics, and is independently audited.

They ask “why is that there is a distinct feeling that the knives are out for Dfid?”

But the biggest knives appear to be coming from The Times’ reproduction of briefings fed to them by aid sceptics and the Conservatives.

These attacks demonstrate the importance of passing the Government’s draft International Development Spending Bill to enshrine into law its promise to raise the share of UK national income spent on aid to 0.7 per cent by 2013.

by David Taylor.

Haiti Humanitarian Relief Trebled

International Development Secretary, Douglas Alexander, has announced that the Labour Government will treble its funding for humanitarian relief in response to the Haiti earthquake.

Based on assessments on the scale of the disaster, aid will rise from 10 to 30 million dollars.

The additional 20 million dollars  will be put to work providing further relief and recovery work, including food, shelter, basic sanitation and health services.

Labour’s International Development Secretary, Douglas Alexander, said:

“It is now clear that the international community is dealing with an almost unprecedented level of devastation.

“Our initial assessments show a level of humanitarian need which would severely test the international response in any circumstances. But the impact of this earthquake is magnified because it has hit a country that was already desperately poor and historically volatile.

“To address the needs of the immediate humanitarian response the UK Government will pledge a further million, on top of the million initially donated.”

Leading UK charities and relief organisations have come together through the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), you can do your bit to support them in their life-saving work by visiting www.dec.org.uk or call 0370 60 60 900.

Allegations on TUC’s development role without foundation

Posted on Left Foot Forward on Friday

A slew of recent articles seek to undermine the important and justifiable role for the Trades Union Congress in delivering development policy.

TUCOn Monday, The Times reported that “The Government is giving the Trades Union Congress millions of pounds from its foreign aid budget to pay for the education of British trade unionists and to support advocacy work in Britain.”

The International Policy Network (IPN), who released the report on which The Times reported, claimed on Wednesday on Conservative Home that this money “was spent in the UK on activities that do not seem to have yielded any practical benefit to the poor either inside or outside of Britain.” IPN then made this following astonishing accusation:

“To make matters worse, unions that are members of the TUC represent over half the funding of the Labour Party. Since the DfID grants to the TUC come with few constraints,it is possible that DfID’s money could essentially substitute for money that would otherwise come from member unions – freeing them up to give more to the Labour Party.”

On the same post the Conservative’s shadow minister Andrew Mitchell said: “Labour have some very serious questions to answer about how they are spending aid money which is supposed to go to people in some of the poorest countries in the world.”

Left Foot Forward looks at these allegations and refutes each in turn.

Claim #1: DfID spending money in the UK is a bad thing.

The Times article clearly implies, and IPN explicitly so, that the spending of DfID money in the UK is a bad thing. There has, in fact, been a clear and transparent justification for doing so since DfID’s first White Paper in 1997 established the Building Support for Development programme (BSD) which addressed the need for an “increased public understanding of our global mutual dependence and the need for international development.” The then Secretary of State Clare Short states in the foreword the need for “an informed public opinion [to] help ensure that the UK plays its full role in generating the international political will necessary to meet the international poverty eradication targets.”

There is therefore nothing shadowy about DfID granting money to the TUC to spend in the UK – it is part of a broader strategy that includes development education and engagement with the media, businesses faith, BME and diaspora groups. The Times and IPN made much of the sentence in the BSD evaluation which said there was “little evidence regarding the effectiveness of the individual projects.” But that single sentence is a comment on the evidence sought or found, not explicitly on the project itself or the wider relationship with the TUC. The same document actually praises DFID’s work with the TUC (page 28).

Claim #2: The TUC have no expertise in development and have been given the money in a secret deal.

IPN claimed in their report ‘A Closer Union‘ that the TUC should not have received a Partnership Programmes Arrangements (PPAs), which are given by DfID to civil society organisations to achieve DfID’s objectives. They claim that “obviously [the TUC] is not an organisation that has a track record of performance in international development,” and claim that the arrangement is a “secret arrangement” because, “The terms of this grant still have not been published on the DfID website.”

IPN fail to outline why the TUC are an inappropriate partner for a project aimed at ”increasing [the] rights of workers in developing countries through greater support for and strengthened capacity of developing country trade unions.” Responding to the article in The Times, the TUC General SecretaryBrendan Barber said: “With more than six million members in the UK and strong links with fellow trade unionists in every developing country, the TUC is a sensible and appropriate partner for overseas aid.”

It is true that the TUC are not listed on the DfID web page explaining the PPAs, but this seems more likely a technical error than a conspiracy. It is however publicly listed in their project directory, and you can read the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and Objectives online.

While the new MoU authorises the TUC to spend money on UK activities (as part of DfID’s Building Support for Development work above), the TUC are now rolling out their capacity building work in developing countries as part of their 2009-11 partnership with DfID – including two new funding arrangements with ITUC-Africa and the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions to support their capacity to work on women’s empowerment, post-conflict resolution, the rights of migrant workers and political advocacy.

Claim #3: “DfID’s money could essentially substitute for money that would otherwise come from member unions – freeing them up to give more to the Labour Party.”

By adding claim 1 and 2 together they have made their most serious allegation, claim 3. But the sum is closer to 2 + 2 = 5. There is no evidence of any link between DfID’s work with the TUC and the funding of TUC member unions to the Labour Party.

The TUC is not affiliated to the Labour Party. The majority of unions that make up the TUC are not affiliated to the Labour Party. The majority of the unions that have received funding from DfID are not affiliated to the Labour Party either.

The TUC receive LESS under a Labour Government than they did under Major’s Conservative Government. As Brendan Barber stated in his letter to the Times, DfID’s support for the TUC has “actually, year for year, been less under the current and recent Labour governments than it was under John Major’s administration.” The TUC have received what amounts to £450,000 a year over the period 2003-11. The £2.4 million the TUC recieved for the PPA was part of a total of £90 million given to 27 organisations. DfID is doing what governments of all persuasions all over the developed world have done when they distribute small parts of their overseas aid budgets through unions. As Barber pointed out, George W. Bush’s Administration channelled $20 million a year through the US trade union movement.

Labour does actually receive money from DfID – but so do the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats. DfID fund the Westminster Foundation for Democracy to develop comprehensive programmes of joint activity between UK parties and their sister parties in developing countries.

It is the Conservatives and IPN  who have some serious questions to answer.  IPM make serious allegations of the Labour Government’s links with the TUC, but are they as impartial as their status as a charity (No.CC 262982) requires? Left Foot Forward intends to investigate this further.

On Monday we reported on the Conservatives’ fixation with triviality when we examined their aid proposals. It now appears they are not only happy to associate themselves with petty issues, but slanderous ones as well.

The Tories announce their Afghanistan strategy, but there’s a lot left unanswered

In this article in The Times, William Hague and George Osborne are credited with announcing a new Tory policy for the development of Afghanistan. Their aim, so they say, is to draw on the military to carry out “quick impact aid work and infrastructure projects in the aftermath of fighting.” Surely this sounds like a good idea: drawing on the excellent experience of our Armed Forces to aid with construction. It is a good idea (when done properly), but it is not new. DfID incorporated it into its Afghanistan strategy months ago.

In 2008, the Department for International Development carried out a comprehensive consultation, including government ministries, civil society, the private sector and most importantly Afghan communities. The resulting strategy for Afghanistan includes a vital role for the military. Douglas Alexander is quoted in The Times as saying, “The highly praised provincial reconstruction team operating in Helmand already brings together military and civilian support in delivering a comprehensive approach to stabilisation.” This is a strategy that can provide positive results, but the role of the military must be considered wisely. What is crucial to success in Afghanistan is a balanced partnership between civilians and the military, as well as the Afghan Government. Indeed, it is vital that development comes from the Afghan state and that is why DfID channels half of its funding through the Government.

The Tories are often quick to criticise civilian aid work, but in doing so they run the risk of relying too heavily on the military. In a country with as bloody a past as Afghanistan, civilian aid groups are often able to reach communities that the military simply cannot. It is vital that this role is not overlooked. A spokesperson for Médicins sans Frontières is quote in The Times saying just this: “We secure access to very tricky parts of the world because of civilians understanding that we are not military. Where military sell themselves as humanitarians it is very, very problematic.”

There is little meat on the bones of the policy beyond simply stating that the military could be used. The Times reports that DfID will be dismayed to hear that funding for the military activities would come out of the International Development budget. This would lead to a real-terms cut in aid for civilian development. What is also unclear is how much of this new Tory policy relies on what people on the ground believe to be right for development. DfID’s consultation spread the net wide and included local communities. What is not clear is how far the Tories have consulted outside of the military.

Tim Nicholls

LCID to formally launch next month – come to our launch event

Labour’s transformed the lives of many people in the last decade, and nowhere has the impact of a Labour Government been more acutely felt than in international development. For many of us, eradicating poverty is the reason we joined the Labour Party, and there is much to be proud of.

Since 1997, Labour has helped lift 3 million permanently out of poverty each year. We’ve helped get some 40 million children into school. Polio is on the verge of being eradicated and 3 million are now able to access life-preserving drugs for HIV and AIDS. 1.5 million people have improved water and sanitation services.

Tackling global poverty has been high on the agenda of our Party, and we want to keep it that way. That’s why we, a group of Labour activists, have recently set up Labour Campaign for International Development.

We want to keep international development high on Labour’s agenda, and to push our Government to build on its success and be bolder and go further still, in a similar way to our fraternal friends at SERA do on the environment.

We also want to use it as a vehicle to bring people who care about global poverty and other single issues in to the Labour Party. Be they young people engaging in politics for the first time, or former members who’ve turned away from party politics, we want to engage them.

First and foremost, we need them to vote Labour. In the lead up to the election, we’ll be scrutinising the Conservatives to show just how much damage they would do to everything we’ve fought for over the last decade. Even if their promise to match our pledge to spend 0.7% on aid could be believed, it is what they would spend our aid money on that is most damaging – the same failed private sector solutions that failed in the 1980s. No one must be complacent of the Tory threat, or think that a vote for the Greens or Lib Dems will bring any more than a Tory Government.

But we can and will be more positive than that. We’ve got a proud record on development and we intend to shout about it to anti-poverty campaigners. By encouraging them into the Party, we can gain from their skills and energy and, we hope, help invigorate the Party in the process.

LCID is a growing organisation, and we’d love to have your involvement. We’ve set up this blog with regular news and comment, and you can become a fan of our Facebook page to get regular updates.

To formally launch LCID, the Rt Hon Douglas Alexander, Secretary of State for International Development, will be speaking at an event in the House of Commons on 02 February at 7pm. Please RSVP here.

We look forward to working with everyone in the Party over the coming weeks and months to keep Labour in Government transforming people’s lives and lifting millions out of poverty.

by David Taylor, Chair, Labour Campaign for International Development