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Liberal Democrat manifesto offers an ambitious vision for our global future

15 April 2015 - Today’s Liberal Democrat manifesto offers a vision of a fair and sustainable future for all, including the world’s poorest people, says Christian Aid.

“The UK cannot rest on its laurels on issues that profoundly affect the lives of people in poverty, such as tax dodging and climate change,” said Christine Allen, Director of Policy and Advocacy.

“That is why Christian Aid welcomes the Liberal Democrats’ ambitious proposals which would see this country continuing to lead the world on the most vital matters over the next five years.

“The party’s policies for promoting the UK’s low-carbon economy and dealing with global environmental problems amount to a coherent package which would be a strong opening gambit in any negotiations with other parties.

“We are also really pleased to see the party’s recognition that helping people living in poverty requires commitment across many UK government departments - it cannot be left to just one.”

Commenting on the Liberal Democrats’ low-carbon policies, Ms Allen said:

“Over the last five years, the Liberal Democrats have helped galvanise international cooperation on climate change, both within the European Union and the United Nations.

“Today’s proposals on climate finance and resilience would help build momentum in the upcoming Paris talks on the climate crisis, which could not be more important to the entire world. Climate finance can help poorer countries leapfrog dirty old technologies and pursue low-carbon development, while adapting to the painful impacts they are already suffering.”

She added: “We are pleased to see the Liberal Democrat pledge to ensure UK Export Finance actively promotes British green technologies abroad - although disappointingly the party seems to have dropped its previous manifesto pledge to end UK support for other countries’ use of polluting fossil fuels”.

Christian Aid believes that other countries look to the UK as a model of how to go green and grow, so the ambitious, well-crafted policies in the Liberal Democrat manifesto will keep the UK ahead of the competition in areas such as renewable energy, green investment and energy efficiency.

Commenting on the Liberal Democrats’ policies on tax avoidance in developing countries, Ms Allen said:

“We are pleased that the Liberal Democrats recognise the urgent need to stem poor countries’ massive losses to tax dodging by multinationals, which outweigh what they receive in aid.

“The party’s commitment to making UK listed multinationals report their activities on a country-by-country basis is an important step towards creating a fairer global tax system.

“Targeting those who help others commit financial crimes, including tax evasion, is also critical. We’d like to see the proposed new law mirror the UK’s existing Bribery Act by covering all facilitation of crimes by UK companies anywhere in the world.

“We agree with the Liberal Democrats on the need to tighten anti-tax haven rules but want them to be more specific about their plans, especially for cleaning up the finance industries of the Overseas Territories that are ultimately controlled by the UK.”

Ends

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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

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