Friday, 4 November 2011

Bill Gates in the House of Commons and International Aid

The great Bill Gates came to the House of Commons yesterday and met with Andrew Mitchell, MP, the International Development Minister, and MPs who were discussing foreign aid in the House yesterday. Sadly I had to be in a meeting with the BBC chiefs and could not go.
Apparently Gates was amazing but sadly his own computer temporarily crashed when he gave a powerpoint demo - we have all been there!
The serious point was their discussion of international aid and just how it is transforming the worlds efforts to combat disease and hunger.
The flagship and most popular part of Britain’s aid budget is David Cameron’s commitment to the initiative of worldwide vaccination of children from diseases like malaria - working in partnership with Bill Gates and other philanthropists. The estimation is that the British taxpayer will save four million lives during this parliament alone! This is done by using this hard-headed initiative that works hand in hand with the private sector.
The PM recently said - “What greater value for money can there be [than that]?"
Aid is a difficult topic.
The debate shouldn’t be about aid or no aid, but about what kind of aid works best? I have spoken on several occasions on this issue in Hexham over the last few years, and in my view the issue for this governement to try and achieve is whether our money is used wisely and with intelligence or given randomly and without thought. That should be the test.