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Christian Aid: urgent call to MPs to support new law on aid and save lives

10 September 2014: Christian Aid is making an urgent call to MPs to act this Friday to help secure the UK’s proud record of support for people living in poverty around the world.

The charity is urging all Members of Parliament to give their backing to a Bill that would enshrine in law the UK’s commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of its national income on aid.

All three major parties have repeatedly pledged support for a law to protect the 0.7 per cent standard, which amounts to the UK giving far less than one penny in every pound of national income for women, men and children in some of the world’s poorest countries.

Laura Taylor, Christian Aid’s Head of Advocacy, said: ‘This Friday, MPs have a chance to act to fulfil a promise they have repeatedly made to Britain. If they don’t, then people will draw their own conclusions.’

This legislation was promised by the Coalition Government when it came to power but it has made no attempt to actually introduce it.

Now the law has been presented as a Private Member’s Bill by Liberal Democrat MP Michael Moore, and it is this which the House of Commons will consider on Friday. However, unless 100 supportive MPs turn up to back the Bill on Friday, there is a strong possibility that it will not proceed any further.

Ms Taylor added: ‘While there are many things that the UK government can do to help tackle poverty – from stopping tax dodging to addressing climate change – meeting our promise on aid is really important, as a tiny proportion of our own income can make a huge difference for people living in poverty.

‘The truth is that aid saves lives, for instance through clean water, emergency food, medical help for women giving birth, vaccinations for young children and education about hygiene.

‘When the UK reached 0.7% in 2013, it had taken over 40 years to achieve this target. It therefore cannot be taken for granted that it will be kept in the future. Enshrining this commitment in law will protect our financial support for poor countries while they still need it.’

For more information please contact Rachel Baird on 0207 523 2446 or rbaird@christian-aid.org. 24 hour press duty phone – 07850 242950  

Notes to editors:

1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around 50 countries at any one time. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.

2. Christian Aid’s core belief is that the world can and must be changed so that poverty is ended:  this is what we stand for. Everything we do is about ending poverty and injustice: swiftly, effectively, sustainably. Our strategy document Partnership for Change explains how we set about this task.

3. Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and church-related organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development.  Further details at http://actalliance.org

4. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_newswire

5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid visit http://www.christianaid.org.uk

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