The UK government has passed a bill which will make it a legal necessity for future governments to commit 0.7% of the country’s annual national income to spending on international development.
Overseas Aid will be Protected
This is good news for many in the charity sector who are concerned that a new government could put overseas spending at the bottom of their priority list. During an election year and at a time when budgets are tight, money going abroad can be one of the obvious targets to help save a few pounds. This new law aims to stop that happening.
Last year the UK government met the 0.7% target for the first time when it spent £11.4bn on international development.
Speaking in the House of Lords on Monday, Liberal Democrat peer, Lord Purvis, thanked other members of parliament for their contributions. He reminded them that the Bill was not about peers or MPs but about the people they were trying to help. It was, he said,
…simply about a girl who wants to have an education and to learn in a safe school; a mother who wants to feed, wash and nurture a child with good health, clean water and access to a hygienic hospital; a woman who wants to be empowered to represent others or to lead in a corrupt-free political system; and a boy who simply wants to play outside and have a childhood not in a war zone. If we can help others to take these simple things for granted, as we do here, we will be making a worthwhile contribution.