UK-based global development agency Christian Aid has welcomed the government's aid target while urging action on corporate secrecy and tax havens.
Commenting on International Development Secretary Justine Greening’s speech to the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham on 9 October 2012, Christian Aid’s Senior UK Political Adviser, Sol Oyuela, said: "We feel very encouraged by Justine Greening’s reaffirmation of her Government’s commitment to meeting the 0.7 per cent target for spending on international development in 2013."
She continued: "We look forward to celebrating the realisation of that goal next year – and all that UK aid has so far achieved in helping millions of people to change their lives for the better."
"The Secretary of State for International Development’s emphasis on the importance of supporting women in poor countries is welcome. At Christian Aid, we believe it is vital for gender to be at the heart of work to tackle inequality," said Sol Oyuela.
"We were also especially pleased that Ms Greening stressed how greater transparency can help cut corruption and allow ordinary people to hold their governments to account for how they are spending public money."
But the Christian Aid spokesperson also added a word of warning and challenge: "We agree about the importance of reducing secrecy, although we also want much greater transparency from multinational companies and tax havens. That will help to combat tax dodging as well as corruption – and in the long run reduce the need for aid to poor countries."
Christian Aid and other development agencies have been running a vigorous and well researched campaign on global tax avoidance and its consequences for the poorest.
The agency's response to Ms Greening's speech also appears calibrated to accentuate the positive on the aid budget at a time when many grassroots Conservatives are sceptical or critical of such spending, and to address the issue of reducing dependency by tackling inequality and financial impropriety.