Politics: Short outlines ethical aid policy
Thursday 06 November 1997
"We can succeed." Perhaps that may prove to be one of the most significant phrases in yesterday's White Paper - a remarkably upbeat statement, in place of the downbeat realism that we have become accustomed to.
One obvious change is that aid and trade are no longer inextricably linked, as they once were. The pounds 73m Aid and Trade Provision programme, which helped to fund the controversial Pergau dam project in Malaysia, has been axed.
The ATP supported British businesses seeking contracts in the developing world, where trade was sometimes perceived as more important than aid. Sir Alastair Goodlad, shadow spokesman on international development, criticised its abolition, saying it "provided important projects". But Ms Short, the Secretary of State, retorted that he should be "ashamed to bring this up", arguing that the ATP had "brought the aid programme into disrepute".
Ms Short praised Baroness Chalker, her predecessor at the Overseas Development Administration (as it then was), but noted that the previous government had "cut her aid programme, and restricted her in what she wanted to do".
The White Paper emphasises that "trade and investment policies form a key part of the Government's approach to development". Trade and investment are described as "crucial to poverty elimination" - including an emphasis on "promoting ethical business".
The White Paper pledges to "start to reverse" the decline in UK spending on aid, and "reaffirms" a commitment to the United Nations declared target of 0.7 per cent of GNP.
The response from aid agencies was divided. The World Development Movement complained that the Government was "kidding itself" if it thought that poverty could be halved by 2015. But Dianna Melrose, policy director of Oxfam, said the targets were "good news for the millions of people living in poverty around the world". She talked of a "forward-looking strategy" which "represents a major step forward".
Simon Maxwell of the Overseas Development Institute, a think-tank on international development, argued that the White Paper "gets us to the starting gate - the challenge now is to run the race".
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
- 1 World Cup 2014: 20 things we learned in Brazil
- 2 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 3 War is war: Why I stand with Israel
- 4 L'Oreal cuts ties with Belgium supporter Axelle Despiegelaere after hunting trip photographs
Game of Thrones author George RR Martin says 'f*** you' to fans who fear he will die before finishing Westeros saga
Ian Thorpe gay: Olympic swimmer comes out in Parkinson interview
Pamplona bull run: Man who contributed to a survival guide for the festival falls foul of the raging beasts
Israel-Gaza conflict: William Hague calls for ceasefire but says Israel 'has the right to defend itself'
Supermoon 2014: When and why will the moon look bigger and brighter this summer?
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...
£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...
£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...
£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...