Cameron needs to show leadership on poverty
AT THE Make Poverty History march five years ago, almost a quarter of a million people marched through my constituency of Edinburgh East to demand more action on fighting global poverty.
Before the election the Labour Government had draft legislation committing 0.7% of national income to overseas aid. In January 2010 David Cameron said he would honour this commitment to overseas aid, as well as holding other governments to their commitments. These promises were made regardless of the Budget deficit.
As the first session of Parliament drew to a close, Nick Clegg made a very quiet announcement that blamed the deficit for breaking the international aid promise Edinburgh campaigned for in 2005.
With Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell, he admitted the new government is backtracking on its promise of early legislation to lock in the 0.7% aid spending commitment from 2013.
The promise to a generation by Labour – that our country would play its full and committed part in Making Poverty History – was quietly dropped by its Tory/Lib Dem successors.
David Cameron has already let us down. At the G8 and G20 meetings in Canada, our Prime Minister was supposed to be showing leadership but instead he stood by whilst other members went back on their word to honour the Millennium Development Goals.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon will host a crucial ‘Review Summit’ in New York in September, where there will be a stock-take of progress towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals. David Cameron has the opportunity to ensure the goals are met.
I hope my constituents, and all those who marched in 2005 to ensure the promises of the Millennium Goals were made, will now join me in demanding that when he attends the summit, the new Prime Minister ensures they are kept.
Published in the Edinburgh Evening News Mouthpiece Saturday 7 August 2010.