Overseas Aid and Development

The hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, was asked – in the House of Commons on 10th September 2020.

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Photo of Wes Streeting Wes Streeting Shadow Exchequer Secretary (Treasury)

What (a) steps the Church of England is taking and (b) recent discussions the Church of England has had with the Government on overseas aid and development.

Photo of Andrew Selous Andrew Selous The Second Church Estates Commissioner

The pandemic has worsened poverty and hunger in many developing countries. In response, the Archbishop of Canterbury has launched the Together In Unity Appeal to help vulnerable communities across the Anglican communion. The Church is in regular contact with Ministers and envoys to discuss a range of development and freedom of religion and belief issues.

Photo of Wes Streeting Wes Streeting Shadow Exchequer Secretary (Treasury)

I very much welcome the Church’s work in this area. Does the Church share my view that the merger of the Foreign Office with the Department for International Development must not lead to the UK abandoning its commitment to the 0.7% target, and that every penny counted against that target should genuinely be spent on aid and development purposes?

Photo of Andrew Selous Andrew Selous The Second Church Estates Commissioner

Yes, absolutely. The Church is pleased that the Government have publicly committed both to spending 0.7% of gross national income on aid and to maintaining the OECD definition of overseas development assistance.