Thursday, 13 December 2018
Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions
I acknowledge the consultation process that took place. Surely the strategy for development aid should be to get to a point where it is no longer needed. For aid to have a sell-by date, the developing world needs to have the capacity to lift itself out of poverty. That means that as well as giving the aid, we should also support them in their capacity to collect taxes from the multinational companies that are making a fortune in developing countries. It also means being fair to them when it comes to the tax and trade treaties to which we are party. To me that is real policy coherence. The Government could end our opt-out from Article 12 of the OECD multilateral instrument, which is a measure against tax avoidance. The Government could insist that our tax treaty partners sign up to Article 4. It could insist on binding human rights and environmental safeguards.
Policy coherence is not a dreamy romantic ideal. It can be realised and it is a stated aim of the Lisbon treaty. The incoherence is in giving the aid but not taking the steps that could end the need for aid. We will wait and see what is contained in the White Paper. However, it is more than just having the words; it is also about the action.