Mr. Wells: Will the hon. Gentleman reflect on the fact that the hon. Member for Glasgow, Maryhill (Mrs. Fyfe) will shortly leave Parliament, and would he care to compliment her on the way in which she has continually brought to the attention of the House the necessity for education, health care and aid in the third world? She has done a wonderful job during her time in this Parliament.
Mr. McFall: The hon. Gentleman takes my breath away because that was my next point. My hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Maryhill (Mrs. Fyfe) has been in the House the same length of time as I have been and has been a good colleague to me and to others. She has pioneered many social justice issues, and, along with the hon. Member for Hertford and Stortford (Mr. Wells), and not forgetting the hon. Member for Faversham and Mid-Kent (Mr. Rowe), has considered international development and other third-world issues. I congratulate my hon. Friend. I am told that when she leaves the House she intends to take up politics seriously.
Mr. Worthington: Is my hon. Friend aware that, as well as all those admirable qualities of my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Maryhill (Mrs. Fyfe), she was born on the same day and in the same year as Tina Turner?
The Government have made great strides; other Members have mentioned the United Nations contribution target of 0.7 per cent. of gross national product. Let us work at it year after year so that we achieve it. All hon. Members, irrespective of party, will applaud that.
Mr. Rowe: I welcome the Bill and I am sorry that there was no reason to include the importance of development education in it. I support the point that the hon. Member for Dumbarton (Mr. McFall) made about instructing everyone in the nation about the importance of the money that we give for international development.
I have suggested to the Minister privately that it would be worth while asking every individual in the nation to consider their expenditure and ask themselves what they can buy with 0.5 of 1 per cent. of their income and whether it is worth more than giving fresh water to someone who is dying for the lack of it, or creating an opportunity for someone in the developing world. I believe that most people's generosity would lead them to conclude that spending 0.5 of 1 per cent. of their income on the developing world was well worth it.
If we cannot appeal to people's sympathy and compassion, we should appeal to their self-interest. If we do not do that in our globalised environment, we shall be overwhelmed by difficulties that originate in the developing nations.
Cambodia is one of the poorest countries on earth. Forty-six per cent. of the population is under 15 and 2.5 per cent. is over 65. What on earth will the 46 per cent. do when, next year or the year after, they try to enter a labour market that does not exist? Such instability will rage around the world.
What will happen to the 23 million orphans in sub-Saharan Africa if they have nothing to do and nowhere to go? They will not be able to live. They, too, will constitute a huge element of instability. Initially, the developed world will be asked to try to help, but it will ultimately discover that it is being attacked. Similarly, the Victorians decided to construct drains for the whole population when they discovered that the rich would catch cholera if they did not. We should take account of such self-interest in our education programme.
I am delighted that the Department for International Development has published a document on disability. The disabled are always the poorest of the poor; they suffer the greatest disadvantages. Although the document is so general that it does not commit the Department to much, it is at least a beginning for an issue that needs to be taken seriously.
I urge the Department to work with those admirable non-governmental organisations that are beginning to consider their accountability. We should try to ensure that we bring into a net of serious accountability as many NGOs that work in development as possible. Many NGOs currently conduct their development work to their own agenda, which is not always to the benefit of people in the developing world. Such accountability is not
Mr. Tom Clarke: I am delighted to follow the hon. Member for Faversham and Mid-Kent (Mr. Rowe) and to add to the tributes to him. He has applied himself wonderfully not only to international development, but, as he showed in his speech, to disability, care in the community and other caring issues. I like to believe that his period at the then Scottish Office stood him in good stead.
We do not have enough time to pay tribute to all the achievements of my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Maryhill (Mrs. Fyfe). For me, she is the personification of the Glasgow logo that shows an enormous, broad smile and carries the slogan, "Glasgow smiles better".
We are considering an excellent Bill from an outstanding Department. The mood of the debate and the atmosphere in the House today is much better than on Second Reading. Development education is therefore making progress, perhaps even on the Opposition Benches. I join my hon. Friend the Member for Clydebank and Milngavie (Mr. Worthington) in calling for more debates in Government time. However, I say gently to the hon. Member for South-West Devon (Mr. Streeter) that when I held his job, I persuaded the shadow Cabinet to have a full day's debate in Opposition time.
I welcome the Government's confirmation of their essential strategy of poverty reduction and the fact that they are trying to tackle positively from a base of achievement problems that millions of people face throughout the world. Time does not allow me to deal with many figures, and I shall cite only one. When the Callaghan Government fell and Judith Hart was Minister for Overseas Development, our contribution to the United Nations aid figure was 0.52 per cent. In 1997, we inherited a figure of 0.26 per cent. from the previous Government. I look forward to the achievement of a 45 per cent. increase in real terms by 2004.
One must put facts on the record. In 1996, under the Conservative Government, the figures for aid were 0.2 per cent. of gross national product for official flows and 1.83 per cent. for total flows. In 1999, under a Labour Government, the figure fell to 0.23 per cent. of GNP for official flows and 0.69 per cent. for total flows. Even taking the Government's spending plans for the next two years into account, they will have given less aid as a percentage of GNP over the Parliament than any previous Conservative Government in more than 30 years. Yet in their manifesto, the Government pledged to increase international development aid to 0.7 per cent. of GNP.
Under the previous Conservative Government, aid spending as a proportion of GNP totalled an average of 0.3 per cent. per year. Under Labour, the figure for the past three years has been only 0.25 per cent. Even if we take account of Department for International Development forecasts for aid spending in the next two years, the figure is only 0.2 per cent. The years 1997 to 2000 show an average of 0.26 per cent. That is not good enough.
It is not good enough that the European Union accounts for a third of the Department's total spending. The Secretary of State described the EU as the worst aid agency in the world. We should we proud of the Bill, but ashamed of the Government's record.