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G8 Summit

Volume 458: debated on Thursday 29 March 2007

Yes. At the G8, we will continue to urge progress on the Doha development round and delivery of an aid-for-trade package for the developing countries. We will push for the universal education objectives of the millennium development goals and, ahead of the meetings, we are today publishing the UK’s annual report on the International Monetary Fund.

I am grateful that the Chancellor at least feels able to answer questions on his personal diary in person.

Chancellor Merkel has said that tackling global poverty is to be a key priority of the G8 summit, and I welcome that. Will the Chancellor of the Exchequer tell us what initiatives he expects to be announced at the summit to tackle the rising level of absolute poverty in the United Kingdom?

This is absolutely typical of the Opposition parties. We will be discussing international development, trade and the general state of the world economy. I will answer the hon. Gentleman’s question, however. Absolute poverty in Britain has fallen as a result of the Labour Government. Poverty will continue to fall as a result of the Labour Government. What would prevent poverty from falling in the UK is the return of a Conservative Government, because they would not be able to match our spending plans, which guarantee that we are taking action to improve our public services. It is about time that the hon. Gentleman pressed his shadow Chancellor to make it clear what spending the Opposition are now committed to.