Baroness Jenkin of Kennington is Chair of Conservative Friends of International Development (CFID), Mark Simmonds is MP for Boston and Skegness (Deputy Chair of CFID) and Fiona Hodgson, former president National Convention and a Patron of CFID. Follow CFID on Twitter.
We launched Conservative Friends of International Development last year at a packed event at conference. In the run-up to the 2012 Budget on 21st March, our hundreds of supporters have been telling us again and again: our Party should maintain its commitment to international development because it is a daily demonstration of our Conservative values.
One of our key purposes as a group is to explain to all voters why, whatever the economic climate, we should aim to ‘encourage enterprise, opportunity and aspiration for every family, no matter where they live.’ To those who question the value of overseas aid, we point out that supporting projects that help the world’s poorest lift themselves out of poverty makes sense, especially in an increasingly interconnected world. It is not only morally the right thing to do - it acts as an investment for our future prosperity.
And international development is about more than our economic and national interest: the Secretary of State for International Development, Andrew Mitchell, has made clear this Government’s commitment to transparency and value for money. Foreign aid is a hand up, not a hand out, and an increasing focus of our aid is on enterprise and economic development. It is crucial that not a penny is siphoned off into corrupt pockets, but we can see that international development, properly targeted and properly done, is true to who we are and what we stand for as a Party.