International Development (Official Development Assistance Target) Bill — Report

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 10:45 am on 27th February 2015.

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Photo of Baroness Northover Baroness Northover Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development 10:45 am, 27th February 2015

Outcomes and results are a major focus of what DfID does; I hope that will reassure the noble Lord. We recognise the complexity of working in developing countries. The very fact that we focus on fragile states, and use all sorts of other means to try to assist their development, stability and security, shows that we understand how complex this environment is. However, it would be contrary to the aims that we are talking about if we made a provision that the Treasury, however laudable the institution, organisation and department may be, can effectively switch the target on and off at will.

The amendment has the potential to undermine the clear message that Parliament is sending and the consistency and predictability that the Bill, in its essence, seeks to achieve. It also has the potential to undermine the authority of Parliament itself by placing the Treasury in the role of gatekeeper between Parliament and government.

I have given a great deal of thought to the noble Lord’s amendment. Even if he does not agree with my position and is therefore unwilling to withdraw it, I hope that he will accept the argument that I make. If he wishes to test the opinion of the House, I make it clear to those who support the essence of the Bill that we oppose the noble Lord’s amendment.