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Clegg to announce foreign aid boost

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg will urge rich countries to live up to their promises on aid as he announces that Britain is to increase its spending on tackling malaria.

In a speech to the United Nations in New York, Mr Clegg will reiterate the UK's commitment to raise aid spending to 0.7% of gross national income from 2013 - and call on other nations to show the same "resolve".

He will acknowledge that boosting overseas aid is controversial when almost all other Whitehall departments are facing cuts, but insist that the cause is now even more important than when the Millennium Development Goals were set in 2000.

"Some critics have questioned that decision, asking why, at a time when people at home are making sacrifices in their pay and their pensions, are we increasing aid for people in other countries?" he will say.

"But we make this choice because we recognise that the promises the UK has made hold in the bad times as well as the good - that they are even more important now than they were then.

"Because we understand that, while we are experiencing hardship on our own shores, it does not compare to the abject pain and destitution of others... And because we know that doing so is in our own enlightened self-interest."

Development in the third world will create new trading partners for the UK, help the fight against climate change, drugs and pandemic disease and tackle the poverty and poor education which fuel global terrorism, he will argue.

Mr Clegg's speech comes as he embarks on his first round of high-level international diplomacy, standing in for Prime Minister David Cameron at the UN - on arriving in New York on Tuesday night he had talks with UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon and Iraqi president Jalal Talabani. He is scheduled to have lunch at the White House with Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday, when he travels to Washington.

He will be attending a string of meetings at the UN's summit on the Millennium Development Goals, covering infant mortality, private sector investment and malaria, and will have a private meeting with Microsoft billionaire and philanthropist Bill Gates.

He will also outline plans to increase UK spending on malaria from £150 million to £500 million a year by 2014.


From Belfast Telegraph