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International Development (Official Development Assistance Target) Bill — Report

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 1:00 pm on 27th February 2015.

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Photo of Lord Marlesford Lord Marlesford Conservative 1:00 pm, 27th February 2015

My Lords, the speeches of the noble Lord, Lord Reid, and the noble and gallant Lord, Lord Stirrup, emphasise a very important point: the synergistic act between aid and the military. We know that the help we recently sent to Sierra Leone to combat Ebola had to be assisted by military forces to make it possible to administer it. I suspect that there are a lot of instances where the provision of what we loosely call aid is the need to make it possible to deliver the aid.

I suggest—it may not be a matter for this amendment, although I think it is the point of the amendment—that very much more careful consideration be given to the extent to which the Ministry of Defence budget is used to facilitate aid. Particularly now, in the days of ISIS, that so much is needed to introduce minimum stability—to help refugees, for example—I suggest that one could look at the defence budget and the aid budget as a single budget and use that synergy to make both most effective. It is quite extraordinary to me that we set aside the aid budget with a special ring-fence and do not do the same for defence, especially when we are underspending on it.