PRESS RELEASE: Labour Candidate backs life-saving international aid lawMarch 15th, 2015
Rachel Burgin, Labour’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Hitchin & Harpenden has backed legislation to enshrine the UK’s commitment to the world’s poorest people in law, completing a course set out by the last Labour government.
On Monday 9 March, Parliament passed a law to guarantee the UK’s promise to spend 0.7% of our Gross National Income on international aid – in line with an aspiration first put forward over 40 years ago.
The law nearly failed because the Tories and Lib Dems failed to vote for it in the House of Commons. At the final vote in the House of Commons a group of Tory MPs tabled dozens of wrecking amendments and tried to talk out the bill. The Tory-led Government also failed to put forward this legislation, instead relying on a Private Member’s Bill from a backbench MP to make the 0.7% commitment law. This was despite the fact the commitment to 0.7% was included in both the Lib Dem and the Tory manifestos and in the Coalition Agreement.
At the final Commons vote 79 Labour MPs voted for the law – more than all the other parties combined.
Rachel Burgin said:
“I’m proud to support Britain’s life-saving, life-changing aid programme and back this law to help some of the world’s most vulnerable people.
“The last Labour Government tripled the aid budget and dropped the debt, helping to lift three million people out of poverty each year and getting 40 million more children into school.
“British aid makes a huge difference to millions – we should be proud of what our generosity can do for those in need and what it says about us as a country.”
Mary Creagh MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for International Development, said:
“With this bill, a vote in Parliament saves lives across the world.”
“Under Labour, Britain led the world on international development. But this bill nearly failed because after four years of inaction from David Cameron, Tory and Lib Dem MPs failed to turn up and vote for it in the Commons. I am proud that more Labour MPs voted for this Bill than all the other parties combined. This bill ensures that whoever is in government, our promises to the world’s poor will be honoured.”
Notes to Editors
1. On Monday 9 March the International Development (Official Development Assistance Target) Bill passed its final parliamentary stage (Third Reading in the House of Lords) and will now become law. Writing into statute the UK’s commitment to spend 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI) in Official Development Assistance (ODA).
2. UK aid saves and changes lives – between 1997 and 2010 Labour:
• Helped lift 3 million people out of poverty each year.
• Helped to get some 40 million more children into school.
• Improved water or sanitation services for over 1.5 million people.
3. The Conservative manifesto promised to legislate on 0.7% in the first session of Parliament but David Cameron has dragged his feet and it has taken a backbench bill to make this law.
4. At Report Stage in the Commons a group of Conservative MPs tabled dozens of wrecking amendments and sought to talk out the bill http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmhansrd/cm141205/debtext/141205-0001.htm#14120526000001
5. Third Reading in the House of Commons
a. More Labour MPs voted for the Bill than all the other parties combined: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmhansrd/cm141205/debtext/141205-0002.htm#14120530000721 (Division 110, Column 604)