Next week the UK government will vote on a proposed piece of legislation that will affect millions of lives around the world. MP’s will be deciding whether to legislate our 0.7% of GDP commitment to international aid. Here is how you can play your part.
I know how it goes; you see something to do with the government and new laws (blah, blah) and immediately your yawn reflex is engaged. That used to be me too. Okay, most of the time it still is. But a few years ago I really started to take notice when I realised the decisions made by our government can have a lasting impact on the world’s poorest, especially when it comes to decisions about our aid budget.
At the moment the UK spends 0.7% of our GDP on international aid. This might not seem like a huge amount but it is quite an achievement when you consider the UK is the first of the G8 countries to follow through on its commitment to this pledge. Through the Department for International Development our aid money has helped 10.2 million children into school in the last four years and since 2011 has provided 43.1 million people with access to clean water, better sanitation and improved hygiene conditions.¹ The money is also going towards life-saving vaccines and is having a huge impact on malaria reduction in children.
Despite all this success, our aid budget is still vulnerable because it hasn’t yet been yet been fixed in law. This basically means any future government could come along and decide to redistribute this money elsewhere. This would have truly dire consequences for those who need aid the most. On 12 September MP’s will be debating this bill and for various complicated reasons we need 100 MP’s to turn up to the debate or this issue could be dead. No further action. Finished. We just can’t let this happen
So what can you do to make sure we keep our commitment to overseas aid and continue making a difference to millions of people’s lives? GlobalCitizen.org have taken the leg-work out of it for you and generated a template email which you can send to party leaders. It honestly takes less than 2 minutes. You can also ask your local MP directly by emailing or calling them, turning up to one of their drop-in surgeries or tweeting them. It would probably take more time to stifle a yawn (give or take) than it would to take one of these actions and make a big difference.