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Labour To Target Inequality To Drive Global Development

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Labour has put a commitment to tackling global inequality at the heart of its vision for a "social contract without borders" to drive international development efforts after the UN's Millennium Development Goals expire in 2015.

Shadow international development secretary Ivan Lewis said that assistance for poorer countries must be rooted in social justice - including "an explicit commitment to tackling inequality and promoting human rights" - as well as economic growth and good governance.

global inequality

Ivan Lewis said "the world is crying out for radical change"

Lewis was speaking to aid charity Cafod on Tuesday, days ahead of a summit of the UN's high-level panel on post-2015 development, co-chaired by prime minister David Cameron.

He said that Labour's vision included the overarching aims of eliminating absolute poverty, beginning to reduce inequality, protecting resources and ending aid dependency by 2030.

Cameron has spoken of a "golden thread" of factors which can lead poor countries to prosperity, taking in the absence of conflict and the presence of good governance, property rights and the rule of law, effective public services and strong civil institutions, free and fair trade and open markets.

But Lewis said the PM's strategy was undermined by an "ideological reluctance" to put reducing inequality at the centre of future development policy.

"Any new framework that doesn't have a focus on inequality and sustainable growth will lack credibility and be seen as tinkering at the edges when the world is crying out for radical change," said Lewis.

Oxfam campaigns and policy director Phil Bloomer said: "We are delighted that Ivan Lewis today backed Oxfam's call for world leaders to agree global targets to reduce inequality.

"In a world of scarce resources the price of one man's extreme wealth is too often another's abject poverty.

"World leaders need to urgently reform a global economy which allows the richest 100 people to increase their wealth by $240 billion (£150bn) in a single year while 1.3b people live on less than $1.25 (80p) a day."