Official Development Assistance

Chancellor of the Exchequer – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 6th December 2011.

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Photo of Tom Clarke Tom Clarke Labour, Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill 2:30 pm, 6th December 2011

What assessment he has made of the effect of changes in gross national income on the level of expenditure on official development assistance.

Photo of George Osborne George Osborne The Chancellor of the Exchequer

This Government will honour the commitment that our country made to the poorest people in the world and increase aid spending to 0.7% of gross national income. To ensure that we do not exceed that target, we have adjusted the spending plans of the Department for International Development. Its budget will now increase from £7.8 billion this year to £10.6 billion by 2014-15.

Photo of Tom Clarke Tom Clarke Labour, Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill

Is the Chancellor still committed to ensuring that he places the achievement of 0.7% GNI for overseas aid as a specific commitment for 2013 and in the legislation that the Government have promised?

Photo of George Osborne George Osborne The Chancellor of the Exchequer

I am absolutely committed to that legislation, but more importantly, frankly, we should be delivering the commitment on the money for the aid budget. We are doing that in very difficult times. We are doing it, I hope, on a cross-party basis. We are, as I say, honouring our commitment to the poorest in the world. Even in these difficult times, Britain has not forgotten its obligations to the world’s poorest.

Photo of Charlie Elphicke Charlie Elphicke Conservative, Dover

While I congratulate the Government on holding to this spending and maintaining this commitment, is the Chancellor aware that France, Germany and other European nations have not done so well in adhering to their commitments and are therefore pledged to, or desire, a financial transaction tax? Will he be trenchant in making sure that this does not happen, as it will damage our economy and our growth?

Photo of George Osborne George Osborne The Chancellor of the Exchequer

There are arguments for, and very much against, a financial transaction tax, but a real red herring is the idea that a financial transaction tax could be used to meet the aid commitments that countries have entered into alongside Britain but have not delivered on. The financial transaction tax which is proposed in Europe, and which we will not accept, has been spent about four times over on domestic programmes, on the EU budget, on climate change measures, and on aid. A far better thing for the countries of the European Union to do is to live up to the commitments they made on international development and deliver them out of their domestic budgets.