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Official Development Assistance

Volume 523: debated on Wednesday 16 February 2011

10. When he expects to bring forward legislative proposals in respect of the 0.7 per cent. target for official development assistance. (40980)

The coalition Government have set out how we will meet our commitment to spend 0.7% of national income as aid from 2013, and will enshrine that commitment in law as soon as the parliamentary timetable allows.

Some may be reassured by the Secretary of State’s answer and some may even be convinced by it, but I can tell him about a group of people who are not: his own loyal staff at DFID in East Kilbride who in August 2010 were told that there would be no mass loss of jobs from the Department, but last Thursday were told that a third of their jobs would be cut. Is it not the case that when this Government meet commitments, the truth and their commitments are strangers?

The hon. Gentleman will be aware that all Departments across Whitehall are having to make economies because of the coalition Government’s dreadful economic inheritance from his party. DFID is not immune from the cuts and will see reductions of some 33% in its administrative spend. I had the opportunity of speaking to all the staff at Abercrombie house just a few days ago to make sure that that was understood.

I applaud the Government’s commitment to aid, but can the Secretary of State confirm that climate change adaptation funding, beyond the fast-start finance up to 2012, will be additional to the overseas development assistance pledge?

As part of the Government’s fulfilment of our historic pledge, we have set out specifically how climate change funding will rise as part of the overall budget.

Will the Secretary of State congratulate the Government of Kenya, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation and all its funding partners, which include the United Kingdom, on the roll-out of their programme of pneumococcal vaccine on Monday? It will save thousands of children in Kenya and across Africa. We hope that it will be a rolling programme across the developing world.

The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right to underline the tremendous success of the vaccination programme. When we announce the results of the multilateral aid review, we shall show how Britain will give a real impetus to vaccination. As the Under-Secretary has just said, we shall host the GAVI conference in London in June and it will be opened by the Prime Minister.