From LASER Chair, Patricia Rogers, on 20/11/20
Following the merger of DfID with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (creating the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, FCDO), the select committee that scrutinised the work of that department will soon cease to exist. However, it is very important that UK ODA (overseas development assistance, aka aid) expenditure should be scrutinised by a cross-party committee to ensure we maintain a high standard of focusing on poverty alleviation. It is likely that, very soon, there will be a free vote in parliament on the establishment of such a committee.
I have written, on behalf of UNA LASER, to my MP to urge him to support the establishment of this committee. Below is help in writing such a letter from the ONE organisation, which members might find useful. To have maximum impact, the guidance gives opportunities for personalisation of the letterand you might want to adapt it into your own words.
Dear [Insert MP full name and title], [If you’re unsure how to address your MP, you can find their title and how to address them on the official Parliament website: https://members.parliament.uk/]
[Introduce yourself and the issue] I am writing to you as a constituent to ask for your support on an upcoming parliamentary vote on the creation of a new parliamentary committee to oversee our UK Aid budget. I believe that maintaining parliamentary scrutiny of our UK Official Development Assistance (ODA) budget is best placed in a new cross party committee.
[Explain why this issue matters to you, Please edit your letter by adding one or more of the following points in your own words.
- Talk about why UK aid matters to you. Show your passion for girls’ education, fighting extreme poverty, ensuring access to clean water, or tackling COVID-19 everywhere.
- Use stories or your own experience of seeing UK aid in action. Talk about any volunteering, campaigning, donations or support you give any organisations.
- Reference quotes from your MP’s speeches in Parliament on UK aid or international development (https://www.theyworkforyou.com).]
[ BODY: Edit the below text into your own words.]
UK Aid is world renowned in terms of reach and impact. Not only does it improve the lives of millions of people each year – whether that’s through providing good quality education for marginalised girls around the world, or providing strong, sustainable jobs to build new and emerging economies – it also cements Britain’s standing in the world as a compassionate leader on the global stage, whilst building strong economies the UK can trade with.
Parliamentary scrutiny of public spending is crucial in ensuring value for money. To ensure that our aid budget is delivering a healthier and safer world in the UK’s national interest, it must be transparent and prove its effectiveness. The best place to do this is through a cross-party ODA parliamentary committee that can scrutinise all aid spending across all government departments.
[Clarify your ask] As your constituent, I hope that you agree that every penny of taxpayer’s money should be held accountable and spent in the best way possible. The Prime Minister has agreed that the future of a committee that scrutinises aid will be put to a free vote. As a member of parliament there are two things you can do right now:
1. Contact your party whip to state your support for the creation of an ODA Select Committee
The creation of a new committee will start with a conversation between the Chief Whips of the parties. Please do contact your whip to announce your support for the creation of a new ODA select committee.
2. Vote for a new ODA committee when it comes to the House, likely to be in November.
Once a motion is put to the House, ensure that you can attend and vote for the creation of a new ODA Select Committee.
[If not asking for a virtual meeting delete] I’d really appreciate the opportunity to discuss this further through a meeting. I would like to book an appointment at your next surgery or a time which suits you to discuss this issue, please could you contact me on [insert details] to let me know a time we can speak
Thank you. I look forward to hearing from you.
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