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Thursday, February 23, 2017
British charities demand budget to fight poverty not wars
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¬†Gordon Brown will today face protests from Britain's largest campaigns against global poverty as he leaves Downing Street to deliver his budget statement. The World Development Movement, and War on Want will ask Gordon Brown to "Drop Debt Not Bombs" and "Fight Poverty Not Wars". The organisations said today: "The amount of money Gordon Brown has found to fight this war would have doubled Britain's aid budget. This would meet our 30-year-old commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of national income on aid for the very first time. We must learn the lesson that where poverty, exploitation and injustice go unchallenged - hate, conflict and terrorism flourish." Barry Coates, Director of the World Development Movement said: "War was never the best way to deal with Saddam's evil regime. Far more human suffering could have been saved by sticking with the UN and using the money spent on bunker busters and cluster bombs to cancel Third World Debt." Steve Tibbett, Director of Campaigns and Policy at War on Want said: "Why is it so difficult to find the money to confront global poverty and the terror it fuels when it appears so easy to find three billion pounds to fight an illegal war that the world doesn't want. This casts a long shadow over this government's commitment to fighting poverty and promoting development." "The Chancellor has increased aid over the last five years but now he is set to trump this with a war chest worth billions more. Does he want to be remembered for fighting wars or fighting poverty?" Barry Coates said: "Many desperately poor countries continue to spend more on repaying old debts than they do on health or education, yet the government refuses to fund anything more than partial debt relief. The money the UK has found for this war would by itself meet one third of the cost of providing primary education for every child in the developing world currently not in school." Statistics This government still gives proportionately less aid than the last Labour government did when it left office in 1979. In 1979, government spending on aid was 0.5 per cent of national income. The UK is still only giving half the amount of aid it is committed to giving. Present giving is 0.32 per cent of national income compared to a commitment 0.7 per cent. This is forecast to grow to 0.4 per cent by 2005/2006. Treasury funding for military operations in Iraq is approximately £50 per head (based on cost of £3 billion and a population of 58 million) £3bn is equivalent to the total remaining debt of Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia. The 41 most Heavily Indebted Poor Countries owe US$47,952 million (£30,466 million) to the World Bank and IMF. The UK's proportion of this debt is £1.5bn or half what the UK is to spend on the war. Gordon Brown is Governor of the IMF. This year's US military budget is $400billion - eight times the level of global aid flows. The US gives just 0.11 per cent (or $11.4bn) of its national income as aid. The lowest of any rich country. The total debt of the 41 most Heavily Indebted Poor Countries is $213bn. UK military spending is £36.9bn (2002 Spending Review). UK aid spending will be £3.4 bn in 2002-2003. The World Bank estimates that the additional cost of providing for health care and education to meet the Millenium Development Goals of cutting infant mortality by two thirds and achieving universal primary education are £12 billion a year and £10 billion a year respectively. Total aid from the richest countries is currently approximately $50bn annually. It is estimated that world aid flows need to double to approx $100bn in order to meet the UN goal of halving world poverty by 2015, something Gordon Brown has personally backed.
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