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World Development Movement



UK Election 2005

Where the parties stand on justice for the world's poor

Election vote crossDecisions taken in the UK affect the lives of millions of people around the world - particularly those in poor countries. These countries trade with the UK, receive aid from the UK, have UK companies operating within their borders, and pay debts to the UK and to institutions in which we play a major role.

In 2005 the opportunities to raise these issues are coming thicker and faster than ever before. The world is realising how little effort has been put into meeting the UN targets for reducing poverty due to be achieved in just ten years - the Millennium Development Goals. The UK will be able to put the fight against poverty on the world stage and could win real change. With the right political will and vision we can make great steps towards ending world poverty. But which political party will best provide that will and vision?

The election has been announced for 5 May 2005 and now comes an unprecedented opportunity for UK voters to demonstrate the British public's concern for the poor to election candidates, and to push them on key issues about how we approach our relationships with developing countries.

In an age of spin and on a subject where there is often no simple answer the World Development Movement has produced this online guide to help you understand the parties' positions on these issues.

This guide analyses the parties based on key indicator issues for WDM. We've tried to cut through the rhetoric and give you the real party policies based on their speeches, past performance, policy documents and pre-election materials.

Key policies

We've chosen the following ten policies to give an indication of how committed the parties are to economic justice for the world's poor. For each policy we will award a score of 0 (not met), 0.5 (partially met) or 1 (well met). We've asked whether the parties will:

  • Spend 0.7% of national income on aid within one parliament
  • Promote international taxes as a way of raising more money for development and dealing with some of the excesses of corporate globalisation
  • Get rid of the economic policy conditions on aid that force poor Governments to adopt damaging free market policies
  • Demand 100% cancellation of unpayable debts for poor countries without economic policy conditions attached
  • Create a fair and transparent insolvency process to resolve future debt crises
  • End agricultural export subsidies that lead to dumping on poor country markets
  • Keep water provision out of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) at the World Trade Organisation (WTO)
  • Remove demands for reciprocal trade liberalisation and for issues like investment to be included in the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) the EU is negotiating with former colonies
  • Introduce legislation to hold companies accountable for social and environmental impacts in developing countries
  • Fundamentally reform the IMF and World Bank to introduce democratic control and a stronger voice for the developing countries in their management

Labour / Conservatives / Liberal Democrats / Others