Priti Patel, Secretary of State for International Development, spoke this week on building a global development system for the 21st Century at the Conservative Party Conference at The ICC in Birmingham.
Watch her speech here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hBOrHEnWoDw
"Good afternoon Conference.
Well - it’s been quite a year.
I know many of you have spent the last twelve months campaigning hard…
…both for our Party… … and, in many cases, in the referendum. For the first time, friends and colleagues were on different sides of a vote.
But regardless of whether you campaigned for Remain or Leave, there is one thing we can all agree on…
…that only a Conservative government will deliver for Britain, and give leadership to the world. The British public have made their choice.
And now it is our job to make it happen.
That’s exactly what we are doing. Our Party has come together and is delivering for ordinary working people.
Much has changed in the last year. But much is the same:
We have a Conservative Prime Minister who offers capable, proven leadership to a united party and a strong Cabinet team.
We have a strong economy with low unemployment, businesses expanding and taxes cut.
And we still have a Leader of the Opposition who presides over a divided, incompetent, chaotic party that is incapable of taking up the responsibilities of government.
This Conference is a significant moment for our country.
BRITAIN’S PLACE IN THE WORLD
Britain is a country that others look to for inspiration and leadership.
We helped abolish the slave trade.
We led the forces of freedom against tyrants and dictators in Europe – from Napoleon to Hitler.
And we showed people in Eastern Europe the hand of friendship as they sought to escape Soviet oppression.
Britain has been a strong force for good in the world and we are a country that takes our responsibilities seriously.
When the world faces its biggest challenges, it looks to Britain to show the strong leadership needed to overcome them.
As a member of the UN Security Council, a NATO member that spends 2% of GDP on defence, a leader in the Commonwealth…
…and as a nation that is meeting its international commitments to 0.7% for aid… …we can and will play an active part in making our world a more peaceful and prosperous place.
So it is an honour to stand here today as your Conservative Secretary of State for International Development.
It is a privilege to lead such a hard-working team, in Rory Stewart, James Wharton, Baroness Anelay, Baroness Mobarik, Andrew Griffiths and our excellent PPSs, Kelly Tolhurst and Amanda Solloway.
And I am honoured to follow in the footsteps of great Conservatives like Lynda Chalker, Andrew Mitchell and Justine Greening.
In recent weeks I have seen the incredible, life-saving work that our aid does around the world.
Whether it’s supporting over 60 million people to access clean water and sanitation…
…helping over 11 million children to get an education… …or immunising 76 million children against preventable diseases… …our aid budget is transforming lives on an amazing scale. Only last year, we helped 5 million people affected by crises to get access to blankets, tents and clean water.
This is something that everyone in Britain can be proud of.
But, Conference - when lives are at stake, we must constantly strive to make our development efforts even more effective.
Let’s face up to the fact that not all of the global aid system is as effective as Britain’s approach.
When Ebola struck West Africa in 2013, the World Health Organisation was too slow to raise the alarm – and eventually it fell to the UK, the USA and others to grip the situation.
To be blunt: lives were lost as a result of this slow response.
Conference, I will use Britain’s leading position to reform and improve the way the whole world does development.
To challenge, change and reform the global aid system so that it is ready for the challenges of the 21st Century.
Reform is about being relevant for today and for the future.
This is why I will follow the money, the people and the outcomes.
Following the money. Because, as Margaret Thatcher famously said: there’s no such thing as public money – it is taxpayers’ money. And when we open up budgets and let people see where the money is going, we can help root out corruption and ensure that resources reach the most vulnerable.
Following the people – because when we invest in people, in human capital, and focus on things like nutrition and family planning, we can amplify the impact of our aid dramatically.
And following the outcomes – because when we link our payments to results on the ground, we create an aid system that really works for the poorest.
Following the money, people and outcomes means asking for more from all those that receive our aid.
When, last month, I announced new support for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria - a fantastic institution that will save millions of lives in the coming years – I linked this funding directly to a new Performance Agreement.
For the first time this sets out, in black and white, clear requirements for the Global Fund to use our money cost-effectively, transparently, and with a proper focus on results and impact.
We are sending a clear message to the international aid community.
If we can demand more from one of the best performing institutions…we are certainly going to demand much, much more from everyone else, too.
And where programmes are not delivering the outcomes we expect, we will stop them and ensure that your money supports programmes that are working.
Just as Conservatives are removing inefficiency from Whitehall and local government… we must do so for aid too.
Every pound that does not end up where it should, is a pound that cannot be spent on life-saving drugs, education for the world’s poorest, help for victims of violence, or funding for vital infrastructure.
That is why reform, transparency and accountability is at the top of my agenda.
As Conservatives, we can be proud of the impact of our values around the world.
Providing people with an opportunity to make the most of their talents and fulfil their potential is exactly what motivates us.
We pride ourselves in removing the barriers that people face in finding employment, owning their own home, supporting their family, and achieving their dreams.
And just as we celebrate our record on creating jobs, prosperity and growth in this country…
…we should be proud of the support we give to changing lives and creating opportunities in countries that are less fortunate than ours. The last 30 years have seen the biggest reduction in human misery and suffering in history.
Technology, innovation and science have played a key role.
So has well-spent aid – which has helped to halve malaria death rates over the last 15 years.
But above all, this huge progress has been powered by economic growth and free trade.
Our values, Conservative values, have played a key role in this.
By empowering people…
… letting people trade and exchange with each other. By building open, democratic institutions and the rule of law…
By tearing down the barriers to trade and enterprise…
…we have unleashed the economic growth that is liberating billions of people from the shackles of extreme poverty. And I can promise you that this Party will continue to champion growth, trade and investment as the surest route to make poverty history.
But being a Conservative isn’t just about economics. It’s also about moral courage and leadership, building on that great tradition of social reformers like William Wilberforce.
That’s why I am determined to do everything possible to support our Prime Minister’s leadership on the issue of Modern Slavery…
…and to continue Justine Greening’s leadership on women and girls, for example by expanding access to family planning to millions more women. That is why I will put children at the centre of our development efforts, investing in the next generation, ensuring they have the nutrition and the education they need to thrive, and working to protect them from child labour and exploitation.
If we invest in human capital, we can help transform the future of entire societies.
In the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon, I recently met children who are in danger of trafficking or being forced to work, who are at risk of violence and exploitation by armed groups.
It is children like these that we must never abandon.
Britain will continue to stand up for universal humanitarian values – even as we see those values flouted in places like Syria, as brave aid workers are killed for simply trying to help innocent people.
AID WORKING IN THE NATIONAL INTEREST
Conference - this government is on the side of ordinary, working people.
Their taxes pay for the aid budget - and it is right that the aid budget works for them.
That means building a safer world for us all…
…and using the immense goodwill created by our aid budget around the world to help strike the right deals for British people abroad. If we stand back and abandon countries that suffer from poverty and weak institutions, then not only do the people who live in those countries suffer, and not only do those countries become vulnerable to insecurity and terrorism…
…but the problems that they have, come closer to our shores. Conflicts in Syria and South Sudan not only hurt the people who live there …
…they destabilise the rest of the world and create opportunities for terrorists and people smugglers to inflict more misery and suffering and put pressures on this country too. That is why it is in our national interest to invest across the world in alleviating poverty and suffering…
…and to support stability and security in countries where people are threatened and vulnerable. As our Prime Minister made clear at the United Nations last month, our aid budget has a huge role to play in creating the jobs and opportunities that give people in the world’s poorest countries a better alternative than risking the journey to Europe.
Just think for a moment. If we weren’t leading the world in our humanitarian assistance to Syria – how many more people would already have risked the perilous journey across the Mediterranean? And how many more people would have died at the hands of the people smugglers?
We’re using both humanitarian support and financing for economic development to build hope for millions of people affected by conflict and poverty – and in so doing, we are reducing the pressures for mass migration.
Conference - that’s aid working in the national interest.
35 years ago, Margaret Thatcher said:
“We want to help as much as we can…we should help in ways which are mutually beneficial to both developing and developed countries. We all depend on one another for our prosperity.” Conference – that is as true today as it was in 1981.
And I am proud that our aid programme forms a crucial part of Britain’s soft power around the world.
When people in refugee camps or remote communities see the Union Jack displayed proudly on our emergency supplies…they know they have a friend and an ally in Britain.
Conference, today I want to talk about a very specific example of how we can use aid to champion our national interests.
The UK’s presence in Afghanistan over the last decade has helped to stabilise that country and prevent it from becoming a base for terrorists that would threaten the streets of Britain.
And we have improved the lives of ordinary Afghans – with millions more girls in school, better healthcare, and greater prosperity.
But huge challenges remain – not least, the continuing threat from the Taliban.
When things get difficult, we need to remain strong and constant.
Not just by supporting the Afghan security forces to protect their people.
But by supporting the economy and the state of Afghanistan.
Today I can announce that we will commit up to £750 million to Afghanistan between 2017 and 2020, from the aid budget, to promote stability and ensure that their Government continues to function.
The money will support health and education - particularly for women and girls.
We will help to protect internally displaced people who have fled their homes.
And we will help to clear deadly land mines…
…reducing the human suffering brought about by years of conflict, and letting children go back to school and people get back to their daily lives. Crucially, our support will help build a viable, long-term state in the face of Taliban aggression.
We are making this commitment because it will make us safer and demonstrate to everyone that the international community will not walk away from Afghanistan.
By making this clear commitment, we are keeping the UK safe.
And we are helping to do justice to the sacrifices made by our brave armed forces.
Conference, it is also in our interests to support developing countries to grow stronger and more prosperous.
As we look to redefine our place in the world following the EU Referendum, we need to establish new trade and economic links.
Countries who we are providing aid to today, will be markets that we can trade with tomorrow.
And access to the markets of developed countries can provide vital opportunities for the world’s poorest people to work their way out of poverty.
We want to deliver for the working people of Britain, and for the world’s poorest across the globe.
LABOUR OFFER NOTHING ON DEVELOPMENT
Finally, Conference - I want to be absolutely clear.
Just as Labour have the wrong ideas for helping people in this country, they have the wrong ideas for helping people in other countries too.
People underestimate the risk they pose.
Let’s not forget: they are, in their own words, an international socialist party.
They are deeply committed to an ideology that has failed again and again…
…an ideology that has failed the poorest people in the world, the most. An ideology which, throughout the 20th Century, inspired left-wing economic policies that held back growth and stopped countries developing.
Even today, in places like Venezuela, we can see the disastrous effects of this philosophy.
We see harrowing images of malnourished children who cannot get essential supplies because of a man-made economic crisis.
These are the repressive governments that the Leader of the Opposition has heaped praise on.
Conference: just as Jeremy Corbyn has nothing to offer this country, he has nothing to offer the rest of the world.
Look at our two parties and our two leaders. Who do we want running the country?
The strong, proven leadership of Theresa May, leading a Government that is putting the interests of ordinary, working people before those of a privileged few…
…who is championing a bold, confident role for Britain on the world stage… …driven by clear Conservative values that are creating prosperity at home and abroad… …and who is using our development policies to deliver value for money and greater security for working people. Or the divided, discredited Labour Party, led by Jeremy Corbyn…
…who would weaken Britain on the world stage…. …and pursue failed policies that would hurt the poorest the most. Conference, the answer is clear:
Only with Theresa May and the Conservatives can we seize the opportunities of Brexit and build a better country for working people…
…and a better world for us all.