As followers of UK political news will be aware, the party conference season has recently concluded. As the major parties return to Westminster after their trips to Brighton (Lib Dems), Birmingham (Conservatives) and Manchester (Labour), this RESULTS blog post reviews remarks made by the UK’s key decision makers about microfinance and on increasing access to financial services.
The Liberal Democrats kicked off their conference in Brighton on the 22nd of September, reiterating their support for legislation that would require all future UK governments to spend 0.7% of Gross National Income on overseas development assistance. As previously discussed on the RESULTS blog, enshrining this commitment into law would help the world’s poorest people and ensure a guaranteed funding flow to aid making the UK a world leader in this area.
Regarding microfinance specifically, 2010 Dods ‘Female MP of the Year‘ Annette Brooke MP spoke at a conference fringe session about her interest in microfinance and the potential for increased access to financial services to relieve poverty. As the founder of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Microfinance, for which RESULTS hosts a secretariat, Ms Brooke is familiar with the changes to people’s lives that microfinance can bring, though she also spoke of the need to better measure the impact of microfinance. Ms Brooke also discussed the importance of ensuring that microfinance continues to serve poor people’s needs rather than simply becoming a means of generating profits. In this regard she pointed to the 2010 crisis in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh as evidence of the terrible consequences that can result from a failure to supervise microcredit organisations in competitive markets. Continue reading
Posted in Department for International Development, Microfinance, News
Tagged 0.7%, Annette Brooke, Annette Brooke MP, APPG Microfinance, APPG on Microfinance, Conservative, Conservative Party, David Cameron, Justine Greening, Justine Greening MP, Labour, Labour Party, legislation, Liberal Democrat Party, Liberal Democrats, Microfinance, Party Conference, Prime Minister
Yesterday the Department for International Development (DFID) released the latest update on progress against the targets in their ‘structural reform plan’ - a strategy document setting out the key elements that the Department must deliver on over the next few years. We were very concerned to see that the update shows a new delay in the Government’s plans to enshrine 0.7% of GNI to aid in law; the deadline for DFID to deliver on its commitment to do so has now been postponed to early 2015. The news that this legislation may be delayed by almost three more years follows a failure to include it in last month’s Queen’s Speech.
See RESULTS’s press release on yesterday’s announcement here. Continue reading
Much has been made of whether the UK Government will honour the manifesto promises made to reach the UN target of spending 0.7% of GNI on aid by 2013, and to ‘enshrine this commitment in law’. While the Government has said will commit to 0.7% in legislation, there was no International Development Bill included in the Queens Speech meaning there’s no immediate plan to make this commitment legally binding in the next year.
Why does this matter? Well, any government’s overriding priority is to stay in power. There are many conflicting priorities in government and, especially at the moment, too little money to pay for them. Limited resources and the desire to stay in power, force governments to take short cuts and break promises when it comes to policy – trying to do more and please more voters with less. Continue reading
A document has just been released outlining the agreement reached between the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties in order to form a coalition government.
We are pleased to see that the commitment to reach 0.7% of GDP to aid is reaffirmed, but there is no mention within the document of legislation to enshrine this commitment in law. Both parties committed in their election manifestos (see Conservative manifesto and Liberal Democrat manifesto) to legislate on this issue during the next Parliament, so we hope to see this legislation feature in the upcoming Queen’s Speech, which will outline the legislative agenda for the new session of Parliament.
It may be that we need to apply pressure to the new government on this issue – we will keep you updated with any actions you can take as soon as we become aware of them.