Brown says churches can help deliver primary school education for every child

By staff writers
April 18, 2010

Gordon Brown spoke today about the role of faith groups in helping to secure access to primary education for every child in the world by 2015.

He was speaking at a church in London as part of World Poverty Day, where, as in previous elections, UK aid agencies asked the parties to spend one day of the campaign focusing on International Development.

Brown said: "Through a partnership between developing and developed countries – led by the South Africans – I believe it is possible that we could fill the gap in education budgets so that by 2015 every child in the world has access to a primary school education.

"On aid - I believe we can strike a 200 billion dollar aid deal for 2015 in September. If we can firm up the 0.7 per cent pledges from the EU, build on the US commitment to double foreign assistance and encourage other G8 countries to lift their budgets, we can turn on real new resources".

He said that partnership with faith communities was key to persuading the international community to deliver the necessary changes.

"All through history the greatest social movements have been built on the strongest foundations of conscience and faith. From the abolition of slavery to the creation of children's rights to the emancipation of women to justice for the world's poor, the churches have been there.

"And today you fight for the greatest of causes - to get millions of children in to school, to stop women dying needlessly in childbirth, to get healthcare to those who need it - to make poverty history. We will not hesitate or give up or retreat - we will fight with you until justice is achieved".

His comments came as the Conservative Party faces questions over its commitment to international development.

In a letter published in today’s Observer newspaper, Christians and other anti-poverty campaigners suggested Conservative policy looked like ‘political posturing’ rather than a serious commitment to tackling global poverty.

The World Development Movement also produced rankings of all the policies of the parties, which put the Conservatives in last place.

A poll conducted by Conservative Home last year found that 96 per cent of Tory candidates at the next General Election believed that protecting the UK’s aid budget should not be a priority.

Aid agencies are worried that Tory plans for international development could also see aid diverted for military purposes.


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