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House of Commons Hansard
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13 February 2019
Volume 654
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5. What steps her Department is taking to ensure that aid spent through the prosperity fund complies with her Department’s duty to reduce levels of poverty. [909195]

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The primary purpose of the prosperity fund is to reduce poverty through sustainable and inclusive economic growth in middle-income countries. Other Departments are responsible for ensuring that their overseas development programmes from this fund meet the requirements of the International Development Act 2002.

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Climate change will hit the world’s poorest people hardest, so why on earth is 29% of the energy component of the prosperity fund being spent on oil and gas extraction, including supporting fracking in China?

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I know that the hon. Gentleman shares my commitment to doing what we can to tackle the incredibly important issue of climate change. We should be wholeheartedly supporting opportunities that work as climate change initiatives to move power beyond coal.

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What a pleasure to call a west country knight, no less—Sir Gary Streeter.

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I strongly support DFID Ministers’ approach to the prosperity fund, which looks to promote economic reform in middle-income countries, where 70% of the world’s poorest people live. Are not trade and economic reform still the most effective ways to lift people out of poverty?

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My hon. Friend is absolutely correct that the way in which the world will end poverty is by having sustainable and inclusive economic growth. To achieve the sustainable development goals, we need to crowd in not just development finance, but $2.5 trillion annually for development.

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Alleviating poverty should be at the core of everything that DFID does. As such, I am sure that the Secretary of State will be just as deeply concerned as I was to see the former Foreign Secretary throw his weight behind a report published this week that calls on changing the Department’s purpose from poverty reduction to further

“the nation’s overall strategic goals”.

Will the Minister take this opportunity to confirm that the Department will not become a subsidiary of the Foreign Office and that the 0.7% of GNI will be firmly committed to poverty reduction?

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Yes, I can confirm that that is the Government’s policy.