Letter: UK is failing poor countries

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The Independent Online
Sir: Diane Coyle ("Wipe the slate clean for the world's poorest countries", 20 February) is right to encourage the Chancellor's efforts towards more generous debt relief to help the poorest nations "stand on their own feet", although - as Oxfam, Christian Aid and others have said for years - it was the cost of our loans that helped to topple them in the first place.

But she seems less worried by the UK's fall in the OECD aid league table down to sixth lowest as a share of gross domestic product - below even the Netherlands if measured in quantity.

Scandinavians are much more aware of international affairs and the needs of poor countries than we are. Isn't it time that we paid more attention to our own development education and awareness, in schools and colleges as well as in Parliament?

The Earl of SANDWICH

House of Lords

London SW1