Prosperity Fund

International Development – in the House of Commons on 6th June 2019.

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Photo of Bill Esterson Bill Esterson Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Shadow Minister (International Trade)

What steps he is taking to ensure that aid spent through the prosperity fund is focused on poverty reduction.

Photo of Harriett Baldwin Harriett Baldwin Minister of State (Department for International Development) (Jointly with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office), Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development)

The primary purpose of the prosperity fund is reducing poverty through inclusive economic growth. Departments that execute prosperity fund programmes are responsible for ensuring that they meet the requirements of the International Development (Official Development Assistance Target) Act 2015.

Photo of Bill Esterson Bill Esterson Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Shadow Minister (International Trade)

Between 2016 and 2018, the prosperity fund financed 16 fossil fuel projects across the world, including two in fracking. Is not this obsession with fossil fuels, despite the fine words of the Secretary of State, just confirmation that this Government could not care less about addressing the climate emergency, which is, after all, one of the biggest threats to alleviating world poverty?

Photo of Harriett Baldwin Harriett Baldwin Minister of State (Department for International Development) (Jointly with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office), Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development)

These funds are obviously administered by other Government Departments in compliance with the wording of the Act, so I am not sighted on the specifics of what the hon. Gentleman refers to. He will know that we do need to work together as a world to reduce emissions. One of the ways in which we are doing that is to encourage people to power past coal. Often we can do that by substituting less polluting fossil fuels. It may be in that context that these disbursements were made.