Thursday 8 March 2012
The Petition of citizens of the United Kingdom,
Declares that while around the world UK aid has already made an enormous difference in helping people lift themselves out of poverty, we must not stop now.
The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to enshrine in law their commitment to spending 0.7% of national income on aid by 2013.
And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Fiona O'Donnell, Official Report, 27 February 2012; Vol. 541, c. 124 .]
Observations from the Secretary of State for International Development:
UK aid works. It saves 3 million people from poverty each year. It has helped to eradicate smallpox, reduce polio cases from 350,000 a year in 1988 to just 1,500 last year and increased the number of people on vital anti-Aids drugs from 400,000 in 2003 to more than 4 million in 2008.
Helping those most in need is both the right thing to do and in our national interest. Tackling poverty in the world’s poorest places can mean tackling the root causes of global problems such as disease, drugs, migration, terrorism, and climate change, which matter to us here in Britain.
Despite the difficult fiscal position it inherited, the Coalition Government made it clear that they would not balance the budget on the back of the world’s poorest people. In the Spending Review, the Government set out detailed plans to invest 0.7% of gross national income (GNI) as official development assistance (ODA) from 2013 onwards. More details on the Government’s investment to reduce poverty in some of the world’s poorest places can be found at: http://www.dfid.gov.uk/barmar.
The Coalition Government’s, “Programme for Government” made clear that it would enshrine the commitment to invest 0.7% of GNI as ODA from 2013, and every year thereafter, into law. The Government have drafted a Bill to this effect. The Bill is with the Business Managers, and, as the Prime Minister has made it clear, the Government will legislate when parliamentary time allows.