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24 July 2007

Tackling poverty will take more than photo stunts

John Barrett, Liberal Democrat MP for Edinburgh West, today warned that tackling global poverty would take more than photo-opportunities and instead required real commitments to increase aid and end unequal trading rules.

Mr Barrett made the comments after David Cameron and a delegation of conservative MPs travelled to Rwanda to take part in aid projects.

John Barrett, a Liberal Democrat spokesman on international development pressed the conservative party for concrete commitments on aid, debt and trade and warned against overseas development becoming a PR issue.

John Barrett said:

“After five years on the International Development Select Committee I know the benefit of MPs seeing the situation in developing countries for themselves. However, the reality is that the best thing we can do as MPs is to make sure that the policies adopted by this government are the right ones for those in the poorest countries.

“People will remember the conservative party slashing the international aid budget when they were in power. It will take more than a few photo-opportunities to convince many in the development field that the conservative party have really changed. Actions in this case speak louder than words.

“Aid and development is too important an issue to become PR stunt. With so many of the millennium development goals looking likely to be missed, it is desperately important that we re-double our efforts and come up with the policies nationally, EU-wide, and internationally that will help those in the poorest countries.”

 

Notes

In government, the Conservatives slashed the aid budget in half as a proportion of national income. The aid budget as a proportion of national wealth was cut to 0.26 per cent by 1997.

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This website was established while I was a Member of Parliament. The site content is being kept online as a source of information, but all forms / email have been disabled.