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Clean Water and Sanitation

Volume 545: debated on Wednesday 23 May 2012

The British Government consider that access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene is among the most basic of human needs. At the recent summit in Washington, I announced this Government’s intention to double the commitment on water and sanitation that we made last year.

I welcome the Department’s commitment to doubling the provision of water and sanitation so that it reaches 60 million people, but will my right hon. Friend assure me that sufficient priority is now being given to sanitation? Too often in the past, priority has been given solely to the provision of clean water.

My hon. Friend is entirely right to draw attention to the importance of sanitation. That is why the International Development Committee called its report on these matters “Sanitation and Clean Water” rather than referring to WASH—water, sanitation and hygiene. As he says, for every UK citizen we will provide clean water or sanitation for someone in the poor world who does not have it today. That is an important priority for Members on both sides of the House, and Britain is honouring it.

The Secretary of State will be aware of the tremendous work done by charities such as Excellent Development which supply clean water to many regions in Kenya and Uganda at a fraction of the normal cost. Will he ensure that the Government do what they can to assist such tremendous and cost-effective work?

We make it an absolute priority to ensure that British taxpayers’ money goes as far as it possibly can, and that we secure 100p of delivery on the ground for every pound that we spend. We continue to ensure that we deliver clean water and sanitation at the lowest possible price.