PM announces £814m child jabs boost

David Cameron today committed an extra £814 million of British money to the vaccination of children in poor countries, insisting the UK had a "moral" obligation to help despite public spending cuts at home.

The Prime Minister acknowledged that his Government's pledge to maintain international aid spending was "controversial" but said developed nations must keep their promises to the world's poorest.



The announcement came as world leaders, charities, companies and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates gathered in London for a fund-raising conference by the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (Gavi).



The extra money will more than double the UK's contribution to the initiative, previously set at £680 million between 2011 and 2015.



Britain is by far the biggest source of funding for Gavi, followed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has promised to provide 1.3 billion US dollars (£800m).



Mr Cameron said the UK's money would help vaccinate more than 80 million children, saving 1.4 million lives.



"That is one child vaccinated every two seconds for five years. It is one child's life saved every two minutes. That is what the money that the British taxpayer is putting in will give," he said.



But, mindful of criticism of the Government's commitment to protecting aid spending at 0.7% of national income, he also struck a defensive note.



"At a time when we are making spending cuts at home what we are doing today and the way we are protecting our aid budget is controversial," the Prime Minister said.



"Some people say we simply can't afford spending money on overseas aid right now, that we should get our own house in order before worrying about other people's problems.



"Others see the point of helping other countries to develop, but they don't think aid works anyway, because corrupt dictators prevent it from reaching the people who really need it."



But went on: "I think there is a strong moral case for keeping our promises to the world's poorest and helping them, even when we face challenges at home.



"When you make a promise to the poorest children in the world, you should keep it."



Recalling the G8 summit at Gleneagles and the Live 8 pop concert in 2005, he added: "It was the right thing to promise. It was the right thing for Britain to do. And it is the right thing for this Government to honour that commitment."



He also pointed to a "strong practical" argument for aid, saying it would help transform poor countries in Africa into trading partners for the UK, and prevent the conditions which lead to mass migration, radicalisation and terrorism.



"If we invest in countries before they get broken, we might not end up spending so much on dealing with the problems. Whether that's immigration or new threats to our national security," he said.



In total, today's conference secured funding commitments of 4.3 billion dollars - including an extra one billion from Microsoft founder Mr Gates - exceeding a target in advance of 3.7 billion dollars.



Its total resources between now and 2015 will be 7.6 billion dollars (£4.6bn), of which 2.4 billion (£1.5bn) will come from Britain. Its aim is to immunise more than 250 million of the world's poorest children against life-threatening diseases by 2015.



Mr Gates said: "For the first time in history, children in developing countries will receive the same vaccines against diarrhoea and pneumonia as children in rich countries.



"Together we must do more to ensure that all children - no matter where they live - have equal access to life saving vaccines."



Justin Forsyth, chief executive of Save the Children, hailed a "huge boost" to the world's poorest children as a result of today's pledges.



"Millions will now survive common childhood illnesses like pneumonia and diarrhoea, enabling them to grow up and fulfil their potential," he said.



"UK leadership has been critical to this success, but as David Cameron said today, promises to the world's poorest have to be kept.



"The hard work begins now to keep these historic commitments on track and make sure the vaccines get to the children who need them most."



Oxfam senior policy adviser Max Lawson said: "David Cameron deserves real credit for tackling the aid critics head-on and committing much-needed funds to vaccinate children in poor countries.



"The Prime Minister is right to say that vaccination is one of the most effective ways of improving health in poor countries."



International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said support for immunisation and vaccination through Gavi would ensure that taxpayers got value for money in aid spending.



"We made it clear that we would not balance the books on the backs of the poorest people on the planet. I have no doubt that was exactly the right decision," he said.



"Of course having ringfenced that budget and made that decision we owe it to our hard-pressed taxpayers to ensure that we get a pound of development value for every 100 pence hard-pressed taxpayers produce.



"That is why we made tough decisions to take money away from some organisations but in terms of vaccination and immunisation - the cost-effectiveness of it, the value for money of it, the fact that it is undoubtedly the right thing to - I think the British taxpayer can have confidence this money is being really well spent."



News
Food blogger and Guardian writer Jack Monroe with her young son
people
News
people
News
peopleSinger tells The Independent what life is like in rehab in an exclusive video interview
Arts and Entertainment
booksPhotographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years - but he says it wasn’t all fun and games...
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
i100
Sport
Aguero - who single-handedly has kept City's Champions League dreams alive - celebrates his dramatic late winner
footballManchester City 3 Bayern Munich 2: Argentine's late hat-rick sees home side snatch vital victory
News
Muhammad Ali pictured in better health in 2006
peopleBut he has enjoyed publicity from his alleged near-death experience
Arts and Entertainment
Tony breaks into Ian Garrett's yacht and makes a shocking discovery
TVReview: Revelations continue to make this drama a tough watch
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
TV
News
The assumption that women are not as competent in leadership positions as men are leads to increased stress in the workplace
science... and it's down to gender stereotypes
Life and Style
The racy marketing to entice consumers to buy Fairlife, which launches in the US next month
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Inner sanctum: Tove Jansson and friends in her studio in 1992
booksWhat was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Lawyer - Cheshire

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: CHESHIRE MARKET TOWN - An exciting and rare o...

Austen Lloyd: Residential Property Solicitor - Hampshire

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: NORTH HAMPSHIRE - SENIOR POSITION - An exciti...

Recruitment Genius: Gas Installation Engineer

£29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Gas Installation Engineer is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Technical Surveyor

£28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Domestic Gas Technical Surveyor is req...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital