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Action at the G8 is crucial for a world without hunger

Lucy_Powell_parl_default1.jpg.ashx.jpgLucy Powell MP blogs about the G8 meeting on 17th and 18th June.

In one of the greatest injustices of this generation, an estimated one billion people go to bed hungry every night. There is enough food in the world to feed everyone. But almost 1 billion people go hungry, and every year 2.3 million children die from malnutrition. We need radical change if we’re going to put a stop to this global injustice.

With the G8 Leaders’ Summit taking place next week, the UK once again has the opportunity to demonstrate its ability to show global leadership. Labour took action in 2005, brokering ambitious commitments on climate change, investment, debt relief and trade for development. If we are to tackle hunger we must use next month’s meeting to achieve a commitment by all the G8 countries to meet their aid targets, tackle tax havens and tax avoidance, and fight for greater transparency.

It is estimated that a world free from hunger would cost just over $50 billion dollars a year. By honouring existing commitments to fund agriculture and tackle malnutrition, G8 countries could support economic growth through investing in small-holder farmers, particularly women, and tackle child and maternal malnutrition.

We also need to address the structural causes of poverty and hunger if we are to achieve radical change. The OECD estimates that developing countries lose three times more to tax havens than they receive in aid each year. That is why we need to end tax secrecy so that companies can be held to account and corruption can be rooted out. Developing countries will never be able to lift themselves out of poverty if they cannot collect taxes to fund their own services.

Labour would also work to advance transparency initiatives in other sectors too. We cannot lecture other countries about increasing tax transparency if we are unable to take the lead ourselves.

This is why Labour is urging David Cameron to use the UK's chairmanship of the G8 to replace his rhetoric on aid, tax and transparency with effective global action to move towards a world free from hunger.

Now is the time for action, and we can all play our part.

Sign up to Labour’s campaign here action.labour.org.uk/G8-campaign

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