Chancellor says debt campaigners must 'hold politicians to their promises'

 The Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP told CAFOD supporters on Friday that their campaigning efforts for debt relief and increased aid levels had brought results that no-one could have foreseen. But he warned that in 2006, campaigning for global justice had to be even more powerful than in 2005, and more powerful still in 2007 in order to hold world leaders to the promises of debt relief and aid levels that they made at the G8 summit this year. The Chancellor told the 1,500 strong audience at the CAFOD hosted rally in Manchester: "The cause that we represent, requires more than a week's work at Gleneagles, more than a year's campaigning right up and down the country. It's a lifetime crusade for justice." He admitted that political promises were seen as easy to make but often came to nothing: "And all too often the promises that are made about world poverty are downgraded from pledge to possibility to just words and that is why people become disillusioned." His speech was given in answer to the challenges laid down by CAFOD's Head of Campaigns, Alison Marshall in her opening speech when she told the Chancellor: "I believe you too, Chancellor, are an idealist. People like you enter politics because they too want to change things for the better. Undoubtedly you have worked hard this year. But yet the commitment must still be honoured, the promises have still to be delivered, the policy changes turned into practice. So much remains to be done, perhaps you also feel a bit disappointed by progress so far?" Ms Marshall laid out the gaps between what has been promised this year by world leaders on development and the goals of the Make Poverty History coalition. She urged on campaigners to push for trade justice to become reality at the World Trade Organisation talks in December. The Chancellor continued: "Let no-one say there are no great causes left in the world, when 30,000 children are dying painfully and needlessly every day. A million children a year now dying from malaria, a disease that we should be able to avoid through simple things like bed-nets. Two million children infected every year with HIV/AIDS. Half the children of Africa who will never finish their education even though they start off at school. Are these children to be dismissed as unavoidable casualties? Are they to be written off as the potential the world can do without? "It demonstrates to me clearly that the greatest movements in history, that really change history for the better, are movements that are born on the strongest of ethical foundation movements build as CAFOD is on the rock of social justices, founded not on pessimism about the future but on hope of what we can achieve. Campaigns built on compassion not on envy." Looking forward to the WTO talks in Hong Kong in December the Chancellor urged: "If we are to make poverty history then we need to make agricultural protectionism history and we must tackle the injustices of the world trade system. "There is only four weeks to go until the trade talks in Hong Kong. And we must address these trade rules that not only prevent poor people from throwing off the shackles of poverty but they shackle poor communities still further. "And we must put an end to what the poor countries rightly say is the hypocrisy of our protectionism. And we must not let this opportunity pass us by."

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