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International Development (Official Development Assistance Target) Bill — Report

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 10:30 am on 27th February 2015.

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Photo of Lord Armstrong of Ilminster Lord Armstrong of Ilminster Crossbench 10:30 am, 27th February 2015

My Lords, it is 45 years since I walked out of the Treasury, never to return. However, that was after 20 years there, and once a Treasury man, always a Treasury man. For that reason, and for many others, I support the amendment in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Butler. Like him, I have no difficulty with the commitment to make the target 0.7%. We do not need legislation to do that. The noble Lord, Lord Davies of Stamford, talks about the signal that the passage of the legislation would send. With great respect to him, I do not believe that the passage of a Bill with this title would set all the flags flying in the capitals of the developing world. Legislation is not the best vehicle for gestures and signals. If you want to send gestures and signals, things like manifestos and Queen’s Speeches are the appropriate means of doing that. Therefore I support wholeheartedly the spirit behind this amendment, that this expenditure, however good and however meritorious, needs to be subject to the same discipline as other public expenditure.