Alison McGovern MP

Member of Parliament for Wirral South

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Next Friday, parliament will debate a bill that will enshrine in law a requirement for governments to commit 0.7 per cent of national income to overseas development, fulfilling an internationally-agreed UN target. This was a commitment that was in the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat manifestos at the last election, but where the government has dragged its feet, leaving it up to an individual MP to bring in the bill.

I know that development and aid spending makes many people a little uneasy. Why should we be sending sums of this sort overseas when we face massive budget constraints here at home? I would argue that there are two different reasons why we are right to make this modest (in government spending terms) commitment.

Firstly, because as a rich nation, we should not walk by on the other side when we can do a little to help tackle crippling poverty, hunger, and disease.

Secondly, because we all benefit from a world where poverty reduction lessens conflicts and global tensions, or creates new markets for mutually-beneficial trade. Putting my cards on the table – I will support the bill to make 0.7 per cent legally binding, because the task of lifting the billion people who live in extreme poverty, and the more than two billion who live on less than $2 (£1.20) a day is too daunting for us to shirk our responsibility – but I also hope that I will see, in my political lifetime, a time when the world can agree that the 0.7 per cent target can be relaxed, because we are winning the battle.

The key to getting people across the developing world out of poverty is through trade – conducted equitably and fairly, creating jobs and sustainable livelihoods. Our development efforts must be focussed towards breaking down the barriers that prevent that from happening. That means investing in infrastructure that helps kick-start economies and get goods to market, but also supporting unglamorous things that we take for granted, like helping fragile states set up a tax collection regime, so that they can harness revenues from their economy to pay for schools, hospitals and social care. And we must work to support initiatives that ensure workers are paid a decent wage for their work and are employed under safe and fair conditions.

These are the building blocks for finally eradicating global poverty and bringing closer the day when we won’t need a development budget of our own. As a shadow international development minister, I couldn’t be more convinced of the importance of the job I have – nor could I be more convinced that my long-term aim, should I one day be lucky enough to hold that job in government, is to make myself redundant.

 

By Alison McGovern MP for Wirral News 

Why I will be supporting a spending commitment of 0.7% on overseas aid

Next Friday, parliament will debate a bill that will enshrine in law a requirement for governments to commit 0.7 per cent of national income to overseas development, fulfilling an internationally-agreed...

Last week concluded the end of my summer pub tour meeting my constituents.

I visited pubs and also a café in wards all around my constituency and had many interesting conversations and listened to points of concern.

 I was interested to hear views on a wide range of issues such as welfare, manufacturing, care, NHS, House of Lords, youth services, pensions and many more.

I set out to hear people’s perspectives on the issues that matter to them and the tour was certainly a success in terms of that.

I welcomed the opportunity to have open conversations and being able to respond directly in a casual setting.

I’d like to thank people for coming to meet with me during the past month.

It was clear from my conversations that the economy is one of the bigger concerns that people understandably have and I had a chance to put forward how Labour would tackle some of the issues that were discussed.

We have a number of pledges to address people’s standard of living and also address youth and long term unemployment. Some of these pledges were discussed during my tour.

It was a very worthwhile way of spending the parliamentary recess and I would like to do something similar in the future. During parliamentary term when I am able to I also travel round my constituency to meet with constituents and I find it a good way to meet a number of constituents at once.  

 

By Alison McGovern for Wirral News 

Reflection of my pub tour as it comes to an end

Last week concluded the end of my summer pub tour meeting my constituents. I visited pubs and also a café in wards all around my constituency and had many interesting...

The train journey from Liverpool to Glasgow is the most beautiful there is. After Lancaster, the peaks of the Lake District rise up around the tracks. And then between Carlisle and Motherwell, the mountains in the south of Scotland diminish all before them.

 

Making this journey today to see my friends in Scottish Labour, and to help with the campaign supporting those voting for Scotland to remain with the UK, reminds me of the many times I've made this journey to see good friends. Unfortunately, this time, I'm more likely to be greeted by a leaflet round, than the usual 'welcome to Scotland' drink, but I suppose that's only fair, given the wonderful times I've experienced in Scotland before.

 

Glasgow and Liverpool are two cities, both alike in dignity. When Liverpool exceeded all expectations in winning and creating the European city of culture bid in 2008, we took inspiration from our friends in Glasgow, who made that journey some years before.   Our reputation - run into the ground by Tory governments - as a city worth coming to, has been revived.  And this summer we were reminded again of the brilliance of Glasgow as a sporting destination, demonstrating beyond doubt what a cracking place it is.  Two cities, on the west coast of the UK, facing the sea,  that have - in good times and bad - always stood together.

 

Growing up in Merseyside, the biggest figures of my childhood: Kenny Dalglish and  Alan Hansen, were both Scots following a well-worn path down the road to play for Liverpool FC.  These two giants are revered, not just for footballing achievements, but for their decency and kindness, way beyond duty, to the people of their adopted home. 

 

This friendship between Scotland and the North West is the reason I'm coming to show my love for Scotland and desire for us to stick together.  Not because everything in the UK is great - far from it.  But rather, that we have more chance of achieving great things with the people of Merseyside and Scotland working as one, than apart.

 

Just as it was Labour leaders on both sides of the border who joined together to build a health service, and social security system to address the inequalities of the past, it will be Labour MPs from Merseyside and Scotland together who'll end the bedroom tax.  It will be Labour city leaders who build the economies of Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow together.  Our industries - manufacturing, maritime, logistics, science-based - are alike.  We stand or fall together.

 

A few months ago, Alex Salmond came to Liverpool to make his case for separation. Unfortunately for him, by doing so, he gave the game away.  How could he pretend that my city has anything - anything at all - to gain from barriers to co-operation with Scottish cities?

 

Separation from each other would break the hundreds year old settlement that we pool our resources.  It would be bad for economic growth in Merseyside, our friends in Glasgow, Edinburgh, and right across Scotland and the north of England.

 

Let me be clear: this is a decision for Scots to make, and the love and friendship I have for Scotland and it's people will be there, no question, come what may. But Scots have made so much of what I love about the UK.  That's why I want to do my bit to say: let's stick together.

Scotland's Referendum

The train journey from Liverpool to Glasgow is the most beautiful there is. After Lancaster, the peaks of the Lake District rise up around the tracks. And then between Carlisle...


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