Mark today backed in Parliament a new Bill introduced by Scottish LibDem MP, Michael Moore, which would enshrine in law the UK's commitment to spend 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI) on aid to the world's poorest countries.
That is in line with promises made over 40 years ago and the UN target and the Bill would ensure that every UK government in future would have to adhere to it.
Mark voted for the Bill today when it received a ‘Second Reading’ by a large majority, which means it will now go forward into a Committee for more detailed discussion. He is pictured with Labour Shadow Secretary of State for International Development, Jim Murphy.
The work of the UK's Department for International Development (DFID) is respected around the world and one-third of its staff are based in Scotland at its central administrative offices in East Kilbride.
"It was Labour that first proposed setting the target in law. The current Government deserves some credit for accepting the target for aid spending but it has yet to follow through by setting it in statute as this Bill would now do. I am therefore glad that the Bill has passed through its first stages today, and I hope it will successfully make its way through Parliament.
"DfID is highly respected internationally and this would give a strong lead for other countries to follow – people living in poverty in other parts of the world should not be denied the right to education, health care, and access to clean water and sanitation that we take for granted.
“Our lives are intertwined with people in the world's poorest countries and crises around the world in places like West Africa grappling with the Ebola crisis, the refugee crisis in Syria or the plight of people in Gaza testify to the desperate need that exists.
“The UK's voice really counts on development issues and this Bill will make sure it continues to do so.”
“There is no doubt that we in Scotland can be much more effective in working for international development by working together within the UK, as this Bill demonstrates.”
Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for International Development, Jim Murphy MP, said:
“The Labour party has been demanding that Ministers keep their promise to legislate on 0.7% for years. It was a Labour government that put this country on the road to fulfilling that historic commitment, it was Labour whose pledge to legislate forced the other two parties to follow suit
“It is Labour that has shouted loud and most often about this government’s failure to do so and Labour will do everything we can to ensure that this Bill becomes a law because we will not turn our back on those in need.”
When in government between 1997 and 2010 Labour:
• Helped lift 3 million people out of poverty each year
• Helped to get some 40 million more children into school
• Improved water or sanitation services for over 1.5 million people
Mark today backed in Parliament a new Bill introduced by Scottish LibDem MP, Michael Moore, which would enshrine in law the UK's commitment to spend 0.7% of Gross National Income...