Tessa Jowell and Ivan Lewis launches Early Years Petition at Labour Conference



Join us in supporting change for children!

Today Ivan Lewis MP and I launched a petition calling on the UN Secretary General and UN Member States to recognise the vital importance of investing in a child’s earliest years.

We know from experience and evidence in the UK that investing in a child’s earliest years makes the biggest difference to that child’s life – making them healthier, more ready for school and more productive adults and members of their communities. Investing in children early is one of our best long-term social and economic policies which brings practical benefits to those children and their families.

In July I travelled to Malawi with Ivan to learn about how early childhood development programmes were delivered in countries that lack the resources we have in the UK. We came back reinforced in our conviction that the principles which underpin programmes like Sure Start in the UK still hold, and that integrating the organisation of support and services for children in their earliest years reaps the biggest benefit.  

That is why I think it is vitally important to ensure that a focus on early childhood development and a commitment to integrating the care, support and services to give a child the best start in life should be at the heart of any new global development framework that replaces the Millennium Development Goals in 2015.

The Millennium Development Goals galvanised unprecedented interest and resources for fighting poverty and injustice. Labour played a key role in catalysing this change and we want to continue playing an important part. We have a unique opportunity to shape the next development framework to ensure that it best embodies our values and commitment to creating a fairer, more prosperous and equal world.

We now need your help to build support for the campaign in the UK and internationally. Share the petition with your friends and networks. Write to David Cameron to express your support for the campaign and desire for the UK to commit to change for children.

I am extremely grateful to LCID for their continued support of this campaign and I hope that together we can be a new force for progressive change internationally.  

If it is right for our children, then surely it should be right for some of the poorest children in the world. Help us to take that first step towards improving the lives of children around the world.

Petition here   


Trade Unions are vital partners abroad as well as at home

There can’t be many Labour blogs today that aren’t discussing the relationship between trade unions and the Labour Party.

Much of this espouses the vital role that unions play in this country, supporting members at work. However the role of trade unions is not something that springs to mind when you think of international development. But ,when you look at the key policy themes that the Labour Campaign for International Development work around, e.g. responsible capitalism, decent working conditions and quality public services, you can see that trade unions are central to all of these issues.

Decent jobs, with fair pay and safe and healthy working conditions are key to supporting individuals and their families out of poverty. When Tories and others on the right decry aid dependency, you would think they would support that vital work.  Our experience through industrialisation here in the UK and around the world is that the best way to improve working conditions and pay is through collective bargaining through independent trade unions.  But all too often trade unions are restricted rather than supported, to the extreme in places like Columbia or the Philippines where union leaders are murdered for standing up for their members.

Trade unions are also vital in the provision of quality public services.  A poignant example is in health services, which often rely on too few staff who are under-paid and over-worked. Often,  nurses will go straight from the day shift to the night shift in order to earn enough money to be able to feed their families.  The development of trade unions in countries like Malawi has helped health workers come together and both improve their conditions and the services they can provide to their patients. UK union UNISON has funded work to develop the capacity of the National Organisation of Nurses and Midwives in Malawi, allowing them to support their members particularly in the context of such a high prevalence of HIV. Trade unions are also a vital ally in tackling issues of corruption and transparency in public services and in Government.

UNISON’s International Development Fund has funded projects to develop public service unions in places such as India and the Philippines, as well as Malawi.  Unions often partner up to engage in this work, there is a particularly strong position within the teaching unions.

To support decent work and quality public services, the UK and DFID has the potential to make a huge difference by working with trade unions in developing countries and to promote their role as a key part of civil society. LCID has received a lot of support from trade unions and union members since our inception, whatever happens with the discussions in the wider party, we will be proud to continue that.


James Anthony is Co-Chair of LCID

A thank you from Ivan Lewis and Tessa Jowell

LCID were delighted to receive this video from MPs Ivan Lewis and Tessa Jowell, thanking us for our coverage of their Malawi trip.



As well as boosting our ego, Ivan and Tessa took the opportunity to explain some of the things they had learnt about Early Years Provision during the trip.


We’d like to say a thank you of our own: to Jessica Toale for her fantastic diary and to Ivan and Tessa for campaigning so hard to ensure Early Intervention for every child is key to the Post 2015 review of the Millennium Development Goals.