Live International Development Questions House of Commons

Live International Development Questions

Live coverage of questions in the House of Commons to the international development secretary Priti Patel and her ministerial team.

Similar Content

Browse content similar to Live International Development Questions. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



allocation for the NHS. There will be a round-up of today's activities


in Parliament to night, but first, Priti Patel and her team. Order,


order. Questions to the Secretary of State for International Development.


Secretary Priti Patel. UK development assistance has helped to


reduce property in tragic Stan. DfID work has delivered important


investments and managed public reforms. I'm grateful for that


information. On a recent visit there, I saw what was being done,


but could she update us as to when projects will get signed off? I


thank my honourable friend for his question. The Minister of State is


overseeing new programming focused on economic development and details


of that will be published in due course. Importantly as well, central


Asia and the surrounding area has an important strategic place in


delivering alp commitments. It's a country that is at risk from climate


change which could risk threatening all the good work that has been done


with this part of ten one crime -- DfID's gum.


-- programme. DfID approach will produce greater economic stability


in the long run. With your permission I will take questions


numbered two and number four together. The assessment of the


department in line with long-standing British government


policy is that demolitions are illegal under international


humanitarian law and undermine the credibility and the viability of a


two state solution. The Bedouin village lies under threat from


demolition. Demolitions in the occupied territories in the first


two weeks of January or almost four times higher than at this time last


year. What support is being given to those people driven out of their


homes and what message is further being sent to the Israeli government


that such demolitions are unviable? The honourable member raises two


important points. The first is long-standing and we continue to


lobby the Israeli government to stop undertaking these demolitions. They


are illegal and undermine the two state initiative. The Foreign


Minister had a meeting just before Christmas and raised the issue


demolitions directly with him. Will the Minister confirm that NGOs


operating will continue to receive support? They will and we want to


invest in health and obligation. It's having opportunity and hope for


Palestinians that will hopefully lead to a resolution in this


conflict. Many demolitions occur because it's virtually impossible


for Palestinians to get a building permit. What legal support can be


government -- can the Department provide? The Foreign Office has done


projects supplying support. It is difficult to receive planning


permission which is one of the reasons why these settlements are up


and demolition then takes place. Among the demolitions that the


Israeli authorities undertake there are some community facilities some


of which are funded and developed by money from his own department. So I


would welcome the Minister's statement, but we need action rather


than words and has the time come to actually send Benjamin Netanyahu the


bill for structures funded by the British taxpayer? At the moment the


European Union has not decided to seek compensation. Will the Minister


confirm that DfID notwithstanding the efforts of eight senior Israeli


diplomat to take down the Minister will continue to fight against


collective punishment, demolitions and the expansion of the illegal


settlements? I think we are conflating two different issues


here. As the Foreign Secretary said yesterday the Israeli ambassador has


already apologised for that incident. That diplomat has been


removed from his post as an home. In terms of the overall questions of


settlements and demolitions I think I have dealt with that in my answers


to the other questions. I would like to ban the Minister for his


responses, but I would like to minister to be a bit more clever and


tell us how DfID has supported those people who are now homeless due to


the systematic policy of settlement expansion? The central story on what


DfID is doing is that we are doing three types of things for


Palestinian people. We are supporting state structures, in


particular health and education, doctors, teachers and nurses. We're


working to get a viable economy and employment created to support two


particularly small businesses and thirdly we invest in human capital,


making sure Palestinian people are educated, healthy and have the


opportunities for security and stability in the region in the


long-term -- short-term, but in the long term there cannot be a two


state solution unless we address the issues regarding the Palestinian


people. What has happened developer is a tragedy and underlines the


raging's Kallis tactics. -- Kallis tactics. We do all can to support


civilians and to ensure they can receive the desperate aid that they


need. The UK are committed to ?510 million support at the London Syria


conference last year. And I ask the Secretary of State if she is on


course to hit that target? Importantly, this gives me the


chance to restate the house the British government's commitment to


Syria. We have supported the Pledge of 510 million from the conference


last year. The United Kingdom can be proud of its support, but we have


ensured that humanitarian supplies a focus for the region has been the


right support and we have used our international convening powers to


work with others globally to ensure we can do everything we can to


support Syria and the region. At the world humanitarian summit in


Istanbul last year the United Kingdom permitted to the centrality


of protection as a fundamental principle. Camber secretary of State


tell us how that has guided DfID approach to Aleppo on what we can


learn from the tragedy of Aleppo for future civilian protection. My


honourable friend makes an important point in terms of the summit last


year. It's about how humanitarian communities can come together and


work together. There are a number of lessons, both in terms of agencies


working together. The pooling of resources, making sure governments


across the world are working together strategically as well in


terms of resource allocation, but also in terms of convening power and


how we can challenge governments where they are inflicting harm and


causing the grief that they are and the devastation that they have been


as well and making sure we stand shoulder to shoulder in how we


tackle the situation. People give to singing for Syrians because they


know the money they donate will be spent on prosthetic limbs in Aleppo.


What more can the Secretary of State do to make sure that the money is


spent in the region and not wasted on advocacy? Can I commend my


honourable friend is on the worksheet is doing. -- work she is


doing. In terms of specifically making sure the money is not wasted


and it goes to the region, it's through our trusted partners who


help us to measure the outcomes. The Secretary of State is already


talking about Aleppo in the past tense. Besiege med is still


happening right now. The British government can do more, so can I ask


what representation she has made to the Foreign Secretary about


The honourable lady is right. The situation, not just in Aleppo but


Syria over all, is beyond com pretension. In terms of


representations which each specific name refers to, the Warren Secretary


and I work hand-in-hand in terms of international working together, the


work we do and Syria, when it comes to calling for greater collaboration


and access to humanitarian groups, that is what the governorate is


doing. It is the work of government to provide those representations


behind-the-scenes. Before the war, Aleppo had Syria's largest


populations of Christians. 90% of them have now fled. A bulge what --


a world watch list will be released that we show the key drivers of


migration. What will be done to help the persecuted Christians of Aleppo?


She is right to raise the plight of persecuted Christians, especially in


the context of Syria and Aleppo. In terms of what we can do, it is not


just our Department but the Government as a whole making sure


that it is known that the persecution of religious minorities


is not acceptable. We need to ensure that we work collaboratively across


the world with other donor countries and other countries as well to make


that case. Following the announcement that the Department


would be using drones to drop supplies, how can go technology be


used to deliver humanitarian aid in Aleppo and other parts of Syria? I


thank him for his question. He is right to highlight that we have been


innovating and looking at new technology in terms of aid provision


via drones. There is a lot of work taking place in this space and I am


conscious that this House has had a number of debates about other ways


of delivering humanitarian assistance, particularly in besieged


areas. Specifically and within the context of Syria, there is work


taking place, there had been discussions and I can assure the


House that this is an issue that we are pursuing actively, not just in


the Department but across the Government. The Secretary of State's


heart is in the right place, as we know, but the fact is that at this


moment in Aleppo and other cities, the greatest humanitarian


catastrophe of modern times is taking place today. Is it not right


that we now admit there is precious little that we in the liberal West


can do to help the appalling circumstances in Aleppo unless we


have the support of the knighted nations and Russia? -- the United


Nations. He makes an important point about in terms of what the


Government can do, we must never lose sight of the fact that we are


leading in humanitarian assistance and support. There are people in


desperate need and it is the right focus that we have interns are


giving them all of the necessary support. The other point is


diplomacy. We need to carry on putting on pressure but we make sure


we use diplomacy as well to put pressure on where it is needed. I


would like to focus on north-western Syria, the main target of government


strikes or on civilians who have fled Aleppo. Can the Secretary of


State how they are supporting the wounded and displaced civilians? The


honourable lady, I thank her for her focus once again be humanitarian


plight that is taking place inside Syria. In terms of the work that is


taking place, there are extensive the monetarily and efforts in terms


of relief, and shelter. I have had a lot of time working with all about


agencies, we are supporting and funding them directly, to ensure


that supplies are getting through. I also caveat the fact that the


reality is that this is a challenging environment and climate


and we're getting supplies through, but it is increasingly difficult to


do so. Access to energy is a key prerequisite driver of economic


bread and development. Over 620 million people in sub-Saharan Africa


have no access to energy. The boat's poorest people -- the world's


poorest people campaign much more than we do for our energy. That is


why we are trying to provide on grid and of great energy supplies to over


4.5 million of the world's most in need. I thank him for his answer. I


know from my own business to Africa that providing access is absolutely


crucial to economic growth and prosperity in Africa. Does he agree


that the role of the CDC and their investment in Africa is one of the


best opportunities are providing that? I absolutely agree, Mr


Speaker. This CDC can play a key role. I'm glad the House is showing


support for the work that they do. A good example is a company in which


the CDC has a majority stake which will drive forward energy provision


of 5000 megawatts in Africa. 1000 megawatts can support 800,000 jobs.


That is a different it can make, and that is why we're doing it. The


German government has called on the world back to focus all of its work


on climate and sustainability targets and to put an end to


investment in obsolete and climate damaging technologies. Given the


World Bank is the largest recipient of UK aid for energy, will the


Government follow Germany's example and use its influence to call and


the World Bank to stop investing in fossil fuels? I have set out some of


the reasons for which energy supplies are so important to drive


development, it is also important that that energy supply is


sustainable and environmentally friendly. In all of the project


sweep issue, we seek for that to be the case, that includes with the


discussions at the world Bank where we recognise the contribution that


we make. It is a board and they work towards that agenda. Another six,


sir. I thank him for this question. The sustainability of programmes is


crucial and all about programmes are designed with sustainability in


mind. When and where it does happen, we want to ensure that a positive


legacy is left and they leave no one behind. So some of the most poor and


vulnerable received the protections that they order be able to expect.


The American government operate the global equality fund to make sure


that marginalised groups are not left behind. Will my friend consider


the UK in initiating a similar fund? My honourable friend is right.


Marginalised groups are sometimes the most honourable. Rightly, we


focus our efforts and attention on the poorest countries in the world


with the largest known as people in the greatest need of support. But


there are other that need support elsewhere. We need to be aware of


that and make sure that we have a sustainable impact. I would like to


have further discussions about the idea he's putting forward. In a


recent review, the independent commission on aid impact said that


no policy... The Department will always look at what we need to do to


ensure sustainable and long-lasting transition and support programmes


that need to be designed in that way. That runs through all of the


decisions we make. We will continue to work in this area and we're happy


to consider and look at further proposals for what might improve the


of work that is done. Topical questions.


UK aid health meet our obligations of the world's poorest, whether


giving to Syrian refugees, access to water or creating jobs across


Africa. This investment is also firmly in our interests since it


tackles the route causes of global problems and focuses on delivering


world-class programmes which deliver value for money for taxpayers. The


Secretary of State has previously said she is looking at allocating


funding to peaceful coexistence programmes, including one that


brings Palestinians and Israelis together. Am I honourable friend


update the House on this worthy project? I thank him for his


question. I am pleased to confirm we are working on a range of


programmes. They will support tangible improvements, as my


honourable friend has already stepped. This programme is now in


its final design phase and will be launched at the beginning of the


financial year. Order. I understand the air of anticipation just before


Prime Minister's Questions. Can I remind the House that we are


discussing matters that affect the poorest people on the face of the


planet and they should be treated with respect? The protection of


civilians must remain our absolute priority in Aleppo. If we are to


provide food, water, shelter and humanitarian relief to civilians who


for four years have faced the horrors of an in humane war, we need


to make sure that the ceasefire, although currently holding, remains


more than a brief pause. Can the minister explain what efforts are


being made to ensure that conflict does not reignite in Aleppo and what


contingency plan the Department has in place to continue to provide aid


for civilians? The honourable gentleman is right that the UK will


do everything it can to support the current ceasefire and, importantly,


safeguard humanitarian support in the region as well. That is down to


our diplomatic tools and efforts. We need ensure that all agencies work


together to provide the support that is required. No self respecting


conservative believes that you should be judged on how much you


spend on something. Spending a guaranteed amount of money each year


on overseas aid leads to waste and excess, including the amount spent


on consultants. When can we get back to some common sense and stops


pending more on overseas aid every year when the money could be better


spent at home? I thank my honourable friend for his question. Like all


Conservatives, I too want to focus on making sure that every penny of


taxpayers money goes to helping the poorest, and that is the commission


about Department. At the same time, he will note that overseas


development assistance saves lives and transforms lives. He


specifically refers to spending on consultants. That is something that


my Department is looking at right now and we are currently reviewing.


The replies must be heard with courtesy. It is rather alarming when


some of her own backbenchers are not according to the proper respect. She


must be accorded that respect. Thank you very much. We receive much


lobbying over the Israeli and Palestinian need for delivery on the


ground, but what is the minister's assessment of the effect of


terrorism and how difficult it makes to deliver on the ground to those


who really need it, whether it is education or humanitarian aid? The


honourable member makes a good point. We have talk about


demolitions and settlements. The only long-term stability in that


region requires protecting the security of Israel as an absolutely


essential plank along with guaranteeing an independent,


autonomous Palestinian state. The most sustainable aid is paid through


trade. Will my right honourable friend therefore ensure that when we


leave the European Union and the customs union, that we give top


priority and free access to our markets to exports from the poorest


countries? My honourable friend will note that our priority is of course


economic development and making sure that, through our aid, we are


delivering long-term sustainable economic development and prosperity


in everything we do. He is also right to note that we are working


across government as we leave the European Union to look at unilateral


trade preferences and the work we can do to grow our trade footprint


across the world. Unlike the honourable member opposite, we're


the SNP except that data shows that last year the UK was one of the only


six countries to meet the 0.7% aid target. This includes the Scottish


Cup men's international aid fund. What assurances can be given that


the Government's commitment to that target is unwavering and will


continue to be fulfilled beyond the next election? We have been


unequivocal in our commitment to 0.7%. On top of that, it is a


manifesto commitment. The focus of my Department is to focus on poverty


reduction and ensured that that money is spent to drive taxpayer


value and deliver programmes to the poorest in the world. The honourable


lady wanted to ask a question earlier, issue no longer inclined to


do so? Thank you. This election amid the -- the select committee saw the


amazing work done by CDC. Not only is it reducing energy for millions


of people, it is creating a lot of jobs. Can we encourage them to do


even more schemes like that? I thank the honourable lady for paying too


good to the important role the CDC by bringing the rigour of the


private sector with the genuine values of the public sector and we


have shown the ability to provide hydro power that provides energy for


millions of people. Will she be consider her Department's decision


to cut everything up -- every single penny... I thank the honourable


gentleman for his question. People have heard in the previous responses


our commitment to coexistence programmes and how they will not


just ride the right values but actually help to bring the two


communities together in a constructive way. In addition to our


focus in targeted spending on public schemes such as health and education


programmes within the region. Order. Questions to the Prime Minister.


The Prime Minister. This morning I had meetings with ministerial


colleagues and others in addition to my