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Politics Labour vows to take on global elite

Shadow international development secretary Kate Osamor sets out the party's plans for international development with no dodgy arms deals and no PFIs

LABOUR will reveal today its new plan to straighten out the Tories’ “incoherent” international development policy that currently favours privatisation overseas.

In Parliament, shadow international development secretary Kate Osamor will announce that Labour in power will put an end to the Tories’ promotion of privatisation of public services abroad so that foreign aid “explicitly reduces poverty for the first time.”

This would be through ending schemes such as private finance initiatives (PFI) for healthcare and fee-paying schools such as the controversial Bridge International Academy, whose schools have been forced to shut down in Kenya.

Ms Osamor had previously said that the promotion of PFI abroad was hypocritical when Cabinet ministers — including Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson — had openly criticised such deals in Britain.

“The Conservatives must end the double standards immediately, stop promoting public-private partnerships overseas if they can’t defend them at home and put people before profit,” she said.

Labour’s paper, titled A World for the Many Not the Few, will include plans to triple funding for grassroots women’s groups.

In the foreword, leader Jeremy Corbyn writes: “The Conservatives reduce aid to a matter of charity, rather than one of power and social justice. Worse, they seem ever too ready to abandon our development commitments to the world’s poorest.

“International development budgets can do more than just reduce the worst symptoms of an unfair world. We don’t have to accept the world that global elites are building for us.

“Let’s help people around the world be more powerful and make their societies fairer — and in the process make our planet more safe, more just and more sustainable.”

Ms Osamor will today slam the obscene state of the government’s aid policy, such as selling arms to Saudi Arabia for use against Yemen’s people, while giving almost £200 million of aid to Yemen.

Labour will also end aid funding to the government’s opaque Conflict, Stability and Security Fund and replace it with a transparent, human rights-based Peace Fund, she will add.

Its other commitments include helping countries in receipt of aid to halve the income gap between the top-earning 10 per cent and the poorest 40 per cent by 2030, and eliminate it entirely by 2040.

Also, the party pledges to take “bold action on the global economy rigged in favour of elites” by promoting alternative economic models and reforming rules of taxation, trade and debt.

And Labour will shift the Department for International Development investment from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, Ms Osamor will announce.

Following on from the scandal of Oxfam’s overseas workers purchasing prostituted women in Haiti, Labour says it will commit to transfer power away from the aid industry and into the hands of people and communities.

Ms Osamor will say: “The appalling incidences of sexual exploitation that have come to light show the terrible ways in which those made powerful by aid practices can abuse their positions.

“But they are also a sign of an aid system that has been incentivised by successive governments over many years to prioritise technocratic service delivery over the core mission of redistributing power, over challenging its abuse and over standing on the side of communities. We all have to change that.”

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