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Christian charity asks if trade and aid can help children after government criticism

by Hannah Tooley

World Vision has been responding after Labour criticised the government for planning to use Britain's aid budget to help cut trade deals.

Johan Eldebo from World Vision told Premier's News Hour aid money is vital for millions of people suffering all across the world.

He said: "We have about a quarter of a million children serving as child soldiers in the world, we've got 30 million children displaced by conflict, 160 million children at the moment trapped by child labour.

"The question we should we asking at the moment with all of these initiatives is 'how will this help these children stuck in these positions?'"

He was reacting to a government source that has been quoted as saying: "Britain's international aid commitments mean it gets fantastic access to foreign leaders all round the world.

"We can leverage existing relationships to strike trade deals."

The UK currently spends 0.7% of its GDP on foreign aid each year, around £11 billion pounds.

Labour has warned International Development Secretary Priti Patel that using aid money in this way would be a mistake.

The opposition raised objections after it was reported Ms Patel was planning to use Britain's development resources to help cut post-Brexit trade deals.


Johan Eldebo went on to say that aid is "based on unconditional love.

"Aid is delivered on need alone, [and is] the guiding light for how we do that.

"So applying that principle here means if trade is the way forward then we can do that to actually help children in need then we can do that in a way that helps them help those communities and will also be a benefit to the UK."

Labour's shadow international development secretary Kate Osamor dismissed the idea.

Speaking to the BBC, she said: "Not a good effort at all.

"I mean, it's not been hidden, in 2013 Priti Patel had said that International Development should be replaced with International Trade.

"So, I'm not surprised to hear this statement, but actually that is a misrepresentation of what aid is.

"Aid should not be attached to trade, and I hope that she retracts from that statement, and actually ensues that those people who need aid, get aid."

Listen to Premier's Alex Williams speak to Johan Eldebo here:

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