THE BLOG

Before Next Week's Referendum, MPs Need to Make History With Michael Moore's Private Members Bill

12/09/2014 11:17 BST | Updated 11/11/2014 10:59 GMT

With less than a week before Scotland votes for its future, MPs will have the opportunity to #TurnUpSaveLives on Friday 12 September. This date is the second reading for Lib Dem MP Michael Moore's Private Members Bill to legislate Britain's overseas aid as 0.7% of Britian's gross national income.

Last year the UK was the first G7 country to meet the target of 0.7% GNI towards overseas aid. This again cemented Britian's reputation as a world leader in the fight against global poverty. The commitment echoes the generosity of the British people who have shown time and again how willing they are to support poor communities around the world, be it through DEC appeals, Comic Relief and Red Nose Day or advocating for against poverty and injustice through national campaigns like the Enough Food for Everyone IF campaign.

This Private Member's Bill is an opportunity to finally put a 40 year old campaign to rest. Legislation is better than simply having a policy commitment for two main reasons. Firstly, increasing the predictability of aid to poor countries helps doctors, nurses, teachers and other providers of services in those countries to plan their work better, and means that our government can make smart long- term investments based on the growth forecasts, ensuring we get better value for money for every pound spent.

Secondly, the cross-party consensus on the amount of aid we give shouldn't be revisited every year when the really important debate is about how we spend the money. Putting our promises to the poorest beyond the day to day debates about party politics means policy-makers can focus on how we continue to improve the quality of aid not how much we should spend.

The bottom line is even with it being less than 1% of our budget, overseas aid saves lives everyday. This year alone UK Aid has helped 5 million children go to school, 48 million children have been vaccinated against polio and 20 million people have access to clean water. Enshrining this commitment into law will provide better planning and save many more lives.

With less than a week before the Scottish Referendum Westminster's eyes will be looking north, but MPs cannot drop the ball in making sure that we can provide more vaccinations for children against deadly yet preventable diseases, give more children a chance to an education and maintain our position as a global leader in fighting global poverty.

MPs from across the house from all parties need to #TurnUpSaveLives for the 2nd reading of the bill. After all the commitment was made in all of the three major party manifestos and now is the time to keep that promise, not only to the people of Britain but also for every person across the world who has a better life thanks to UK Aid.

UK Aid - a view from the street from ONE Campaign