Annie Lennox helps launch poverty campaign:

Davina McCall, Mariella Frostrup, Annie Lennox, Richard Wilson and Meera Syal are among the big names launching a new poverty campaign today, the fifth anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s Make Poverty History speech in Trafalgar Square.

In a campaign video released today (click here to watch), the celebrities invite people to show their support for a new law that would commit the UK to spend 0.7% of national income on development assistance, by signing up to 

The celebrities use the video to highlight how small 0.7% is – yet how much of a difference it will make to lives in the developing world.

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Mariella Frostrup said:

"40 years ago the UK made a promise to the world’s poor – to spend just 0.7% of our national income on helping poor countries develop. We now have a chance to make that promise a reality, not just for today but for future generations. 

"  is our opportunity to show that we keep our promises, even during difficult times. Whether it’s helping Haiti through a disaster or participating in the long term development of Africa the British public has a proud tradition of looking out for those less fortunate, let’s keep it up."

Five years ago Nelson Mandela’s speech in London ahead of the Gleneagles summit launched the Make Poverty History campaign. Today the Department for International Development is publishing an update of the progress the UK has made against the targets set. 

Douglas Alexander MP, Labour’s International Development Secretary, has encouraged people across the UK to join the campaign.

To watch the video online please click here  .
Labour has tripled the UK’s aid budget and is committed to spending 0.7% of the UK’s Gross National Income on aid from 2013, with the Overseas Development Bill which was introduced to Parliament last month. The Conservatives have refused to say they would introduce such a law.  Aid groups are concerned that the Conservatives’ plans for international development could mean large sums will be diverted from tackling poverty.

Douglas Alexander MP said:

"Tackling global poverty is both morally right, and in our common interest. Labour has always recognised that we have a duty to the wider world and since 1997 the Labour Government has trebled the aid budget.

"Today a host of stars have called on the public to back the move to enshrine the 0.7% aid target in law. The Bill will be examined by Parliament in the coming weeks. The Global Poverty Promise campaign will show the law has widespread public support.

"The Tories say they want a consensus on international development but won’t match our commitment to introduce this law and ensure we keep our promise to the world’s poor. People around the world need promises guaranteed, not just warm words."