A coalition of church and aid agencies is calling on politicians to spend one day of the remaining UK general election campaign, promoting their policies to help the world's poorest people. In a letter published in yesterday's Times, the coalition, Global View 2001, asks candidates to put aside domestic issues for 24 hours and address global concerns before the June 7 election. The letter, signed by the heads of 12 organisations, including CAFOD, CIIR and Christian Aid, calls on the parties to "devote one full day's campaigning to their policies on issues such as third world debt, the arms trade and overseas aid." The directors call for the parties to "debate the policies that will affect the half of the world's population that lives on less than two dollars a day, and show us that they too can take a global view." The letter claims that any party addressing these issues will "reap an electoral reward", and that "just by addressing these issues politicians could increase the turnout on polling day." This is backed up by a poll commissioned by Global View 2001, which showed that 60 per cent of people who had not yet decided whether to vote, would be more likely to do so if the parties give higher priority to international issues. Two thirds of 18 to 24 year-olds, those least likely to vote, want politicians to discuss world poverty and the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the poll found. Speaking on behalf of the coalition, WDM's Barry Coates said: "The result of this election will determine the UK's international trade, overseas development, foreign and financial policies. In an increasingly interconnected world this election will have a direct impact on the lives of millions of the world's poorest people." The letter was signed by: David Bull, UNICEF UK; Barry Coates, World Development Movement (WDM); Paul Eavis, Saferworld; Ian Linden, Catholic Institute for International Relations; Adrian Lovett, Drop The Debt; Pat Jones, CAFOD; Catherine Matheson, War on Want; Bwalya Melu, World Vision; Daleep Mukarji, Christian Aid; Angela Penrose, Save the Children; Salil Shetty, Action Aid; Barbara Stocking, Oxfam.
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