14 April 2015 - The Conservatives are right to stand by UK aid for the world’s poorest people, Christian Aid said today as the party publishes its election manifesto.
Christine Allen, Director of Policy and Public Affairs, said: “It’s good to see that all three manifestos published so far agree Britain should play a leading international role in eradicating poverty and creating a fairer world.
“There’s also a clear consensus on the importance of responding to the climate crisis -but different ideas on how to achieve it. We urge all parties to be ambitious and take the far-sighted decisions needed by the world and especially people living in poverty.
In relation to the Conservative manifesto she said: “David Cameron has stood by his commitment to the world’s poorest people and helped get international tax reform moving, as well as championing vital public registers of who really owns companies. Today’s manifesto promises continued leadership on these fronts, especially in relation to gender equality and humanitarian assistance for people hit by disasters.”
She added: “Despite this welcome progress, much more needs to be done on the tax front, especially to ensure that global reforms benefit developing countries. This has really not yet happened.
“With their stated commitment to good governance, transparency and accountability, the Conservatives should agree to make country-by-country reporting public as soon as possible and do this unilaterally if there is no agreement with other countries.”
Christian Aid also believes that since the UK has ultimate control of the tax havens linked to this country, it should require them to clean up their finance industries.
“We are disappointed that the Conservative manifesto does not commit the party to further tackling dodgy tax practices in the Overseas Territories,” added Ms Allen.
In relation to climate change, she said: “The Conservatives are right to recognise the importance of a global climate deal. Their emphasis on cost-effectiveness is wise, because it will retain public support and attract investment in new industries.
“However this seems inconsistent with ending subsidies for onshore wind power, which is the lowest-cost renewable technology, and with ruling out a target date by which the electricity sector must be decarbonized. It is a target for which the business community has been calling.
“Rapid decarbonisation of the power sector is the most cost-effective way for the UK to achieve a low carbon economy but these policies will not deliver it. If the Conservatives are serious about tackling climate change cost-effectively, they need a more coherent long-term plan for reducing emissions across the economy.”
The Green Party also published its manifesto today. Ms Allen said: "The Green manifesto offers a new vision that challenges mainstream political debate and that will resonate with many people's values. The challenge facing all parties is to put their vision into practice.
“As we would expect, the Green Party seeks a much faster transition to a low-carbon Britain and we hope other parties will agree on the need for more ambitious policies on this.
“The Greens also strongly emphasise their plan to raise revenues by stopping tax dodging in the UK and internationally, to help create a fairer, more transparent tax system worldwide. As an organisation with a longstanding tax justice campaign, Christian Aid supports this goal."
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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