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Cameron would squander prospects of the poor on military equipment

The possibility of Prime Minister David Cameron transferring funds from the international development programme to the defence budget is nothing short of a slap in the face for the millions of donors and volunteers who support British charities trying to address poverty and inequality.

The British Government is committed to using 0.7% of the British GDP to assist the world's poorest people. Every day people volunteer in Oxfam shops, donate to Sciaf, campaign for Christian Aid and support Save the Children. They do so to raise money to supplement the official aid programme, not to boost spending on the military.

Mr Cameron may say peace is a requirement for development. Military interventions usually involve taking sides in political disputes. There are better and more effective ways to help the world's poorest people. Supporting humanitarian aid, discovering new crops to feed hungry people, educating tomorrow's citizens and ensuring every child receives timely health care. These approaches work.

I have worked for international development organisations since 1972. I know how long and hard the struggle has been to get British governments to meet their commitment to 0.7% for a fairer world. Now that it has been reached, for Mr Cameron to suggest squandering poor people's futures on unnecessary military engagement is truly sickening.

Mr Cameron's pandering to his backbenchers could cost the lives of the world's helpless families.

Finlay Craig,

Rossarden, Shore Road, Cove.

We are deeply concerned at Prime Minister David Cameron's suggestion that some of the UK's aid budget could be spent on military activities.

This is a crucial time for our commitment to the world's poorest people. Tonight, one in eight people will go to bed hungry. That's a disgrace.

In the next 28 days we have a chance to take a big step towards ending the scandal of hunger. On March 20, George Osborne will announce this year's Budget.

The UK Government has promised to deliver on the 43-year-old promise to commit 0.7% of our national income on aid, a pledge reconfirmed at Gleneagles in 2005.

While aid remains a very small proportion of overall spending, the Coalition deserves praise for protecting the aid budget when every other G8 nations is not.

However, the millions of people who support this progressive stance will expect UK aid to be spent on hospitals, not helicopter gunships and on schools, not soldiers.

To be clear: not a single penny should be diverted to the military.

Judith Robertson,

Head of Oxfam Scotland,

207 Bath Street,

Glasgow.

Contextual targeting label: 
Local government

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