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International Development Questions

9th January 2019

Harriett Baldwin answers questions from MPs to the Department for International Development.

SDG10: Reducing Inequality

Danielle Rowley (Midlothian) (Lab)

5. What steps her Department is taking to ensure that the UK meets sustainable development goal 10 on reducing inequality. [908417]

The Minister of State, Department for International Development (Harriett Baldwin)

The Department for International Development’s mission is to reduce inequality by ending extreme poverty.

Danielle Rowley

We often talk in this place, at least on this side of the House, about the importance of universal public services like the NHS and inclusive education in ensuring that everyone, regardless of income, has access to essential services, which will bring about more equal societies. What is the Department doing to ensure that UK aid better supports the development of universal free public services in the countries in which it works?

Harriett Baldwin

The hon. Lady is absolutely right that that forms a core part of our work not only on ending extreme poverty but in providing access to essential, lifesaving services. Whether it is helping with infants and preventing maternal mortality or providing 12 years of quality education, the Department is working around the world on those opportunities.

Sir Oliver Heald (North East Hertfordshire) (Con)

My hon. Friend will be aware that I am a member of the independent commission on sexual misconduct set up by Oxfam following the Haiti issues and that the commission is about to produce its interim report. Does she agree that the way in which staff are treated by non-governmental organisations, showing proper respect and reducing inequality, is an important step towards meeting this development goal?

Harriett Baldwin

I thank my right hon. and learned Friend for the work he is doing on this important issue. Last year the Department took a leadership role on addressing such issues not only within the Department but within the providers we work with around the world.

Mr Jim Cunningham (Coventry South) (Lab)

11. What progress has the Department made in engaging with children and young people to achieve sustainable development goal 16.2 to end abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against children? [908423]

Harriett Baldwin

Through our own work, through the International Citizen Service and through our work with many of our partner organisations, including UNICEF, we are working extensively on this issue. I am glad to be able to tell the hon. Gentleman that the UK is the largest donor to the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children.

Dame Caroline Spelman (Meriden) (Con)

Does the Minister agree that it will be impossible to meet sustainable development goal 10 unless people with disabilities are included in all our humanitarian and development work?

Harriett Baldwin

My right hon. Friend is absolutely right to highlight this, which is why last year the UK held the disability summit and launched the disability strategy to make sure that those people are truly included in all our development work.


Topical Questions

Andrew Rosindell (Romford) (Con)

T3. The good news is that once we leave the European Union we can get rid of tariffs on products from our friends in the African world. What discussion have the Government had with African countries about increasing trade and development after Brexit? [908465]

The Minister for Africa (Harriett Baldwin)

May I say to my hon. Friend the Member for Romford (Andrew Rosindell) that there will indeed be scope not only to copy across the existing favourable trade arrangements but to increase the favourability in terms of access to the UK market for many of the poorest countries in the world post Brexit.


Will Quince (Colchester) (Con)

T5. Sadly, Ethiopia has one of the worst neonatal mortality records in the world. Will the Minister join me in thanking all those in Colchester, including the CHUFT Blanketeers, who have been busy knitting in support of my campaign to send thousands of knitted hats for newborn babies in Ethiopia? [908467]

Harriett Baldwin

Ethiopia is one of the countries in which the Department for International Development has extensive programmes. I am very pleased to hear that the good folk of Colchester are supplementing that work with this wonderful project to knit hats for babies.


Trudy Harrison (Copeland) (Con)

T7. Will the Minister explain to the House what steps she is taking to improve primary education in Pakistan? [908469]

Harriett Baldwin

As the House will know, we work worldwide, including extensively in Pakistan, to fund education. Literally millions of children are accessing 12 years of quality education thanks to the work of the Department for International Development.


Jo Swinson (East Dunbartonshire) (LD)

T8. Does the Secretary of State see the huge contradiction between the vital work that DFID does helping countries to mitigate and adapt to climate change and UK Export Finance continuing to subsidise billions of fossil fuel projects? [908470]

Harriett Baldwin

I assure the hon. Lady that, on climate change, we continue to improve access to clean energy for millions of people worldwide. That is an important part of the work that we do within our UK aid budget.


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