Poverty: International Development Aid

Debate between Lord Watts and Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Monday 15th January 2024

(6 months, 1 week ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Portrait Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Con)
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My Lords, I do not agree with the noble Lord; we have achieved a great deal on the eradication of poverty. Focused on humanitarian support, we have provided more than £1 billion of life-saving support in humanitarian emergencies. We have committed £90 million to support in education emergencies, and the UK spent almost £1 billion on global health in ODA in 2022. I take the noble Lord’s point on Africa, and he will be pleased to know that, in 2024-25, we will increase our ODA spend there to £1.3 billion.

Lord Watts Portrait Lord Watts (Lab)
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My Lords, does the Minister agree with me that we cannot do much about poverty unless we control population? Can he explain why, despite large amounts of money being spent on aid, millions of women still do not have access to family planning?

UK Sanctions Regime: Russia and Belarus

Debate between Lord Watts and Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Tuesday 14th November 2023

(8 months, 1 week ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Portrait Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Con)
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My Lords, I record my thanks to the noble Lord for his kind remarks. I recognise, as he has, that this is about cross-party working and identifying what further steps we can take. I would not be bold enough to suggest that we have 100% compliance or that we are closing every loophole that has been identified; as I said, there will be further action in these areas. I also take on board some of the countries he mentioned where we can do further work. I will work with colleagues across government to ensure that, when we identify particular areas, I will notify the Front Benches in the usual way about action we are considering taking.

Lord Watts Portrait Lord Watts (Lab)
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My Lords, what system do the Government have for monitoring these sanctions? It seems strange that the media seem to have been better informed than the Government. What measures will the Government put in place to make sure that they do this effectively?

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Portrait Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Con)
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My Lords, part and parcel of our work with the Treasury and, in particular, the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation is, first, to ensure that we identify the actual structures being used and abused in this way to override sanctions and, then, to work directly with companies and inform them of mitigation methods that can be taken. This is ever-evolving, so, with the more sanctions we impose and the more sectors we look at, there is a lag time before they become effective. As I have already alluded to, we have identified that there will be a time lag while actions are implemented for particular sectors. I also accept that some companies act inadvertently and that we should not penalise them financially straight away; we should also look at other methods, including those we are deploying directly.

Covid-19: Vaccine Donations

Debate between Lord Watts and Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Tuesday 14th December 2021

(2 years, 7 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Portrait Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Con)
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My Lords, on my noble friend’s first point, yes, of course, and I shall write to her with an update. We have already responded to the Foreign Affairs Committee’s report on this issue. I will take her suggestion of one single dynamic Minister for global vaccines back and share it with the department.

Lord Watts Portrait Lord Watts (Lab)
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My Lords, what progress has been made so far on helping countries to provide their own capacity to build their own vaccines so that it is not left to other countries to donate but, instead, they would be able to manufacture their own?

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Portrait Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Con)
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My Lords, the noble Lord makes an important point. The UK has engaged and continues to engage thoroughly on the issues around the TRIPS waiver, which has been discussed. We have certainly seen how we can work though transferring technology, for example. Indeed, early on in the pandemic, that same working together aided the world, in bringing together India and the UK on the Serum Institute of India initiative with the University of Oxford.