Mitchell: is he wavering on his overseas aid pledge?
Andrew Mitchell is apparently under fire again for being the International Development Minister charged with spending what the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats pledged to spend on overseas aid (the UN recommended level of 0.7% of gross national income) - and first reports suggest he has completely failed to mention the pledge in his speech to Conservative Party Conference, perhaps worried it would fan the flames.
Elsewhere he has said, rightly and repeatedly, “we must not balance the books on the backs of the poor” – well, the poor in the global south, anyway, as the government is doing precisely that to poor people in the UK, and supporting doing likewise across the EU!
Credit is due to Andrew Mitchell – and David Cameron – for not using the excuse of public sector cuts to abandon the pledge – as plenty of other governments have done. But I’ve expressed concerns before about whether he will actually deliver on the pledge, raising spending from the current 0.5%and not mentioning it at Party Conference is not a good sign…