International Development (Official Development Assistance Target) Bill — Report

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 1:15 pm on 27th February 2015.

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Photo of Lord Forsyth of Drumlean Lord Forsyth of Drumlean Conservative 1:15 pm, 27th February 2015

I am rather disappointed with that answer. I am happy to give the Minister another go as she did not actually answer the question. The reason the aid budget has, as she said, wiggled all over the place is because the Government have added another £5 billion to it in order to meet their target. They have met—in fact, they have more than met—the 0.7% target this year, without the need for the Bill. Saying that the defence budget has been reasonably consistent has been challenged and I do not want to go over those arguments. The aid budget has moved all over the place because of the decisions made by Governments.

The point that I am asking her about is this: was she saying that the Government will indeed meet the 2% target this year, and are committed to that? If she is saying that, I am much less concerned about my amendment, and that is fine. If she was just saying that the Government have committed themselves to the NATO target, that is a completely different position. That is why she is arguing for the Bill in respect of the overseas aid target: it is not enough for the Government to commit to meet the target and we need to have it in statute. What she is saying about this is very important, so what was she saying?