Aid budget increased to meet key target

Money raised by Comic Relief's sporting arm will this year be matched by the Government, the Chancellor said as he pledged to increase Britain's overseas aid budget.

The Sports Relief charity, which works to tackle AIDs and poverty in Africa, will benefit from matched funding of up to £5m along with the Commonwealth Education Fund.

In an attempt to highlight the Tories' own threatened spending cuts for international aid, Gordon Brown declared that he would increase the aid budget instead of freezing or cutting it.

The Commonwealth Education Fund supports the Government's key objective that by 2015 every child everywhere has a primary education.

Last month, Mr Brown warned that key global targets for reducing poverty might not be met for 150 years, and yesterday he made an impassioned plea to world leaders to double aid to the poorest countries.

At a conference of diplomats and aid organisations in London last month, Mr Brown warned that urgent action was needed to halve poverty, cut child deaths and improve education in the Third World by 2015.

"If we let things slip, the millennium goals will become just another dream we once had. We will be the generation that betrayed its own heart," he said at the time.

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