UK Labour Party unveils ‘feminist’ UK international aid plan

27 Mar 18

The UK’s aid spending is “chaotic”, Labour’s shadow international development secretary has said, setting out her own ‘feminist’ plan for global development.

Labour’s international green paper, announced yesterday, has proposed the aid budget be used to reduce not just poverty but also inequality by taking a ‘feminist approach’ to international development. 

Kate Osamor, shadow secretary of state for International Development, told PF International currently there was “chaotic cross-governmental spending” of international aid.

Labour would change this by ensuring the Department for International Development signed off all official development assistance spending, she explained.

“The government is all wrong in the way that DfID does not have that control. There is no baseline for how it [ODA] should be spent.”  she told PF International.

“At this point in time there is no check-off from on how other departments spend aid.

“I think it is important that other departments are working with DfID, because DfID can’t do all of the work on their own.”

Although, Osamor stressed she was not against other departments spending ODA. She said departments should work together on development issues.

A World For the Many Not For The Few, also includes the UK’s first explicitly feminist international development policy, which calls for tripling funding for grassroots women’s groups.

It proposed to halve the income gap between the richest and the poorest, as well as a threefold funding increase for women’s groups.

Osamor told PF International: “[Under the Conservatives] the main objective is reduction in poverty, but we need to also take on inequality.

“After all the scandals, we need to look at how we transfer power from aid institutions to the people and communities on the ground.”

She added that Labour “are really looking at women at the heart of a community” in their approach to reduce inequality.  

Labour’s plan would also see the increase in ODA spent on helping partner countries strengthen public health and education services.

The international development select committee is due to examine the definition of ODA today and look at where the parameters for spending across departments should be drawn.

According to UK legislation, all ODA spending, including that not delivered by DfID, should be guided by the goal of ending extreme poverty.

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