Government Overseas Aid Commitment: Private Investment

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:39 pm on 9th October 2018.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Patrick Grady Patrick Grady SNP Chief Whip 4:39 pm, 9th October 2018

It is disappointing that this has had to be an urgent question and not a statement and that it has been made while the International Development Committee is travelling, which is why I am standing here and not my hon. Friend Chris Law.

It is also disappointing in terms of the impact of this announcement. For many years, despite everything else going on, there has been cross-party consensus and huge public support for the delivery of the 0.7% target through public funds. The UK is supposed to be a world leader in this area. This kind of back-peddling and backsliding, and finding different ways to leverage the 0.7%, actually risks undermining that global leadership, which I thought was supposed to be a Government priority in the face of Brexit.

Does the Secretary of State accept that meeting the global goals is in our interests of building a safer, more sustainable and secure world? They are not things that just happen elsewhere in poor countries overseas; they are for everybody’s benefit. Why not be more ambitious and use this money to go beyond the 0.7 % target, which is what the Scottish National party proposed in our White Paper on independence? Will she make the commitment that she is committed to retaining that target in one shape or form? The Government are already double counting money spent to defence, and this is simply more of the same. If there is going to be an app that lets us choose how money is spent, when can I go on to it and choose to have my tax money spent on not Trident but on aid instead?