International Development (Official Development Assistance Target) Bill — Report

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 10:15 am on 27th February 2015.

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Photo of Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale Labour 10:15 am, 27th February 2015

My Lords, I fully endorse and support the two important points made by the noble Lord, Lord Davies, which were both about our values as a nation, our leadership and our use of soft power, the importance of which was so ably described in the recent report of your Lordships’ Select Committee on Soft Power, which I hope we will debate in the near future.

I want to add one point that addresses precisely the point just made by the noble Lord, Lord Lawson. He raised the issue that is at the heart of the debate on this Bill; it is that this Bill, above all else in my view, allows us to move from a debate on the quantity of aid from this country to the developing world to a debate on the quality of that aid. For 40 years, we have debated only the quantity of our international aid. This Bill allows us once and for all to move on from that debate on quantity to debate the quality of that aid year after year, as the budget for the Department for International Development or any successor department comes in front of Parliament.

Therefore, contrary to the point that was just made by the noble Lord, Lord Lawson, I think that at its heart this Bill allows us to move from the debate on quantity to a debate on quality, and that is why your Lordships’ House should support it.