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Disabled People: Aid Programmes

Volume 587: debated on Wednesday 5 November 2014

4. What steps her Department is taking to ensure that people with disabilities benefit from UK aid programmes. (905891)

First, may I say that my right hon. Friend the Member for Hornsey and Wood Green (Lynne Featherstone) was a champion for this brief and for disabled people in the most vulnerable countries in the world? We are publishing a framework on 3 December, because we are determined that disabled people will benefit from UK aid.

I am delighted to hear that we are going to publish the disability framework on 3 December. How will it ensure that disabled people—particularly those with learning and intellectual disabilities —are systematically and consistently included in UK aid programmes?

I ask my hon. Friend to show some patience until 3 December. What I can tell him is that we have consulted widely and undertaken to quadruple the number of staff working on this. We have also appointed a senior management champion. With respect to mental health and disability, we are funding a major study in Asia and Africa to see what works in poorly resourced countries.

Will the Minister assure the House that the Department for International Development will continue to focus on supporting excellent advocacy groups such as the one I met in Angola, where people are suffering from the effects of land mines? That is a very useful thing to do.

I hope that I will be able to give the right hon. Gentleman that assurance. Perhaps he would like to meet me to discuss the work of that non-governmental organisation.

Our troops have been withdrawn from Afghanistan, but there remains a legacy of unexploded ordnance and many disabled Afghans. Will the Minister tell the House what DFID will be doing to help those who suffer disability as a result of the armaments left by several conflicts in that poor country?

We will continue to work with the Halo Trust to dispose of that ordnance. Equally, we have an ongoing commitment to Afghanistan and to providing aid to deal with the problems that my right hon. Friend has mentioned.

I welcome the Minister’s commitment to improving the lives of people with disabilities in developing countries. To that end, will he support the proposal for a stand-alone goal on inequality in the post-2015 framework?

We have so far succeeded in ensuring that that goal will be included on the post-2015 agenda—I think it is remiss that it does not already exist as part of the development goals—and we are determined to keep it there as the discussions proceed.