Greens outstrip big parties on global development, says WDM

By staff writers
29 Apr 2010

The World Development Movement has criticised the big parties' policies on global poverty and has rated the Green Party higher than any of the others.

WDM, which is an independent research and campaigning NGO on trade, aid, debt and the economics and politics of global development, analysed and scored the main General Election contenders on these issues.

The Greens, who scored 8 out of 10, came out on top on issues such as trade justice, international aid and IMF reform, ahead of the Liberal Democrats (6 out of 10), Labour (5 out of 10) and the Conservatives, who lag well behind on just 3 out of 10.

Julian Oram, the World Development Movement's head of policy said: "Anti-poverty campaigners have been shocked by the Conservative party's admission that part of the aid budget under a Tory government could be used for British military operations in developing countries."

He added: "Labour's promise to help countries cope with climate change would also come out of the aid budget, diverting finance away from health and education, rather than being additional to that much needed aid."

"The take-home message to the three main party leaders is: must do better if you genuinely want to tackle the root causes of global poverty," said Mr Oram.

The Green Party leader, Caroline Lucas, herself a former policy advisor for a leading development NGO, commented: "We think our policies would radically improve the lives of the poorest.
When it comes to international aid, we would exceed the UN target. The "Robin Hood" tax, which officially became Green Party policy at our spring conference in February, would provide billions of pounds to tackle global poverty, whilst taking a minute percentage of large financial transactions."

Ms Lucas, who hopes to take Brighton Pavilion on 6 May to become the first ever Green MP in Britain, added: "We are on the brink of getting into Westminster, which would mean an independent voice in parliament talking about these vital issues, and holding the Government to account."

To tackle global poverty effectively, the Green Party in England and Wales says that the UK should:

* Introduce the Robin Hood Tax (http://robinhoodtax.org.uk/) which would generate as much as £250 billion by taxing bankers transactions by a tiny amount (maybe 0.05%). The money would be used to tackle global poverty, as well as tackling climate change and investing in public services.

* Increase aid by exceeding the UN's target and allocating at least 1 per cent of UK Gross National Produce for aid by 2011, adding an extra £4.5bn per annum. This aid should be targeted for the poorest, not involve economic policy conditions, respect gender equality and not be diverted to equipping security forces.

* Keep an International Aid Department separate from the Foreign Office, so as to separate foreign policy interests from humanitarian assistance.

[Ekk/3]

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