24 April 2023
Harriett Baldwin highlights importance of development spending

Speaking in a debate on Sudan, Harriett Baldwin highlights the importance of international development spending in fragile and conflict-afflicted countries as a really powerful way of preventing conflict.

Harriett Baldwin (West Worcestershire) (Con)

May I add my thanks to all those involved in this crisis?

Last week, I thought that the Minister rather swerved my question when I asked how much the overseas development assistance budget had been reduced in Sudan, so I looked online and saw that, starting at the beginning of the 2021-22 financial year, it had virtually disappeared. Does the Minister, who was in the same Lobby as me when we voted on 0.7%, continue to believe that spending in these fragile and conflict-afflicted countries is a really powerful way of preventing conflict across the region?

The Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (Mr Andrew Mitchell)

I would never purposefully try to swerve my hon. Friend’s questions. She and I were indeed in the same Lobby, and I just point out to her that collective responsibility, as I have mentioned to the House previously, is not retrospective. In respect of the funding in Sudan, she will know that the one area of the budget where there is a degree of flexibility, even in these straitened times, is in the humanitarian area. Clearly, what is happening in Sudan now will inform the decisions that we make in that respect.