Andrew Smith MP met with Oxfam activists to pressure the coalition to honour its aid commitments.
Andrew said: “Because aid is about giving the poor and hungry the chance to push aside barriers unfairly placed in their way at birth, not about handouts or quick ﬁxes, I am proud to support the ‘Enough Food IF’ in Oxford, a campaign of over 150 organisations, including Oxford’s leading charity Oxfam."
In 2004 the last Labour Government set the target of raising aid to 0.7% of national income by 2013 and in January 2010 introduced a draft Bill to enshrine the 0.7% target in law, which did not progress through Parliament because of the change of Government. UK aid has vaccinated 80m children against killer diseases, almost eradicated polio, and helps to tackle chronic hunger in more than twenty countries.
Andrew added: “I am pleased to see the Chancellor honouring this promise to reach the 0.7% target and I will watch closely to ensure that every penny of UK aid helps young people to escape extreme poverty, raise their earning potential, and grow the wealth of their countries, making them self-sufficient in the process”.
Like the IF campaign, Andrew recognises that aid alone cannot end poverty and chronic hunger. Millions of pounds in taxes are dodged every year and trillions of pounds are hidden in havens. “As poor nations desperately need the jobs and investment that large companies bring, they rarely challenge them to pay a fair share of tax”, Andrew added. “As corporate proﬁt margins grow larger, the poor countries where they operate have fewer doctors and teachers healing and educating the children who can go on to change their destinies for the better.”
Hannah Jacobs, a tax justice campaigner and member of the Oxford Oxfam group, said: ‘Each year, tax dodging robs developing countries of enough income to fund total AIDS prevention, education for 72 million children and ending hunger twice over. George Osborne’s budget and the G8 summit were a disappointment for tax justice, dominated by talk rather than commitment. Today, we are asking Andrew to join us in demanding action, not words, from the government that promised to stop the world’s richest ripping off the world’s poorest”. Andrew is proud to add his voice to the chorus of voices in the IF campaign urging the Government to do far more to crack down on tax avoidance.