International development charity, Christian Aid, has welcomed Keir Starmer’s pledge to restore the Department for International Development (DfID) if Labour win the next election, and urged the UK to take a “new approach to development and eradicating poverty.”

Patrick Watt, Chief Executive at Christian Aid, said: “The decision two years ago to abolish the government department tasked with tackling global poverty was short sighted, tight fisted, and mean spirited.

“Keir Starmer’s commitment to bring back the Department for International Development, at a time when global poverty and hunger is on the rise, is the right thing to do and should be matched by all parties.

“It can’t, however, just be a case of going back to how things were. The UK needs to recognise its historic and current responsibility for helping to end extreme poverty. It needs to demonstrate real commitment in responding to the interlocking global crises of hunger, climate, and conflict. The UK must also work with poorer countries to chart a new approach to development and eradicating poverty.

“We need to strengthen people’s voice and decision making with a fundamental shift in power, within households, communities, and societies, and between the rich and poor.”

Also commenting on the Labour leader’s commitment, Kirsty McNeill, Executive Director of Policy, Advocacy and Campaigns at Save the Children said: “This is an important announcement from Labour that shows serious thinking about how the UK government can make the biggest difference in tackling global challenges and supporting the poorest and most vulnerable families.

“An independent department for international development is not a silver bullet, but the abolition of DFID has reduced the Government’s focus on alleviating poverty, made UK aid less transparent and caused [an] exodus of world-leading expertise from Government. Putting international development back at the Cabinet table means putting our role in building a healthier, safer and greener world back at the heart of Government.”

* The Labour leader’s commitment was made in The Rest is Politics podcast, which can be accessed here.

* Sources: Christian Aid and Save the Children