Our promise to help world’s poorest mustn’t stop due to tough economic times, Greater Manchester MP pledges

By Paddy von Behr

The world’s poorest people should not pay the price for Conservative economic failure, according to a Greater Manchester Labour MP.

The coalition government pledged to spend 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI) on international aid, and put this commitment in law, in 2010.

However, with their third anniversary in government approaching, that has not happened and Andrew Gwynne, Labour MP for Denton and Reddish is taking action to rectify this.

“I am signing up to the Keep the Promise campaign because I believe that we must not turn our backs on the world’s poorest,” he said.

“Not only is it morally right but it is also in our national interest to meet our aid promise.”

Mr Gwynne acknowledged that, for many people, international aid may not seem like a high priority.

However, he stressed the fact that, with enough support, developing countries can become future trading partners, as opposed to failed states.

“I understand why some people feel we shouldn’t prioritise international aid when so many families in Tameside and Stockport are struggling,” he said.

“But the world’s poor shouldn’t pay the price for the Tories’ economic failure.”

Mr Gwynne is keen to ask the Prime Minister why this promise – originally agreed by all three major political parties – has not been delivered.

The PM will have the opportunity to resolve the issue on March 20, when he announces the UK’s 2013 national budget.

And Mr Gwynne wants the support of his constituency to pressure David Cameron into fulfilling his pledge to legally enforce the measure.

“We cannot afford to take Cameron at his word,” he added.

“We need to show David Cameron that even in difficult times people in Tameside and Stockport believe it is right we maintain our responsibilities to the world’s poorest people and keep our promises.”

Elisha London, UK Country Director of Global Poverty Project, backed the policy and spoke of her charity’s desire to see the measures committed to law.

“We look forward to the day the UK Government commits to 0.7% in law,” she said.

“The Prime Minister has repeatedly said that ours can be the generation that brings an end to extreme poverty.

“With the commitment to enshrine 0.7% in law this can be a reality.”

Picture courtesy of FMSC, with thanks

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