Mary Creagh

Working hard for Wakefield

Development Day speech


Mary Creagh, Labour’s Shadow Development Secretary, speaking at Labour’s Development Day, said:

Thank you Ross, and thank you all for coming this afternoon.

It’s fantastic to see such support for Labour’s ambition for a better world.

Before I introduce our special guest speaker I want to talk about two areas that are important to the Labour Party: economic development and humanitarian support.

In eleven days, the British people will face a clear choice.

Five more years of a Tory government that treats the aid budget as charity.

Or a Labour government that will fight for justice for the world’s poorest.

We know that without a thriving economy, without small businesses and private sector investment: there will never be a world without aid.

We know that there is no better route out of poverty than a job.

But not just any job.

Not work that enslaves people.

Not work that keeps children out of school, trapped in poverty.

Labour. It’s our name, the party of working people.

Our movement, born from the passionate conviction that people should have decent work, decent pay, and the freedom to join a trade union.

In government we matched our values with action.

We set up the Ethical Trading Initiative, to encourage industry to work with unions and NGOs to address workers’ rights issues.

We encouraged councils and cities to become fairtrade.

We supported the International Labour Organisation, which this government cut as soon as it took office.

And even in opposition, we strengthened the Modern Slavery bill by forcing companies to report on their efforts to eradicate slavery in their supply chain.

Two years ago, the Rana Plaza disaster shocked the world.

Over eleven hundred people died that day, crushed when their factory collapsed.

We cannot wait for another Rana Plaza disaster to clean up fashion’s dirty secret.

The victims compensation fund for Rana Plaza is still two and a half million dollars short.

I welcome the contributions made by British and European companies.

But in government I will work with other countries to fully close that gap and ensure all companies do the right thing.

I want to thank Carry and Orsola from Fashion Revolution for the work they have done to highlight the exploitation of garment workers.

On Friday, their campaign Who Made My Clothes was trending globally on twitter.

Shoppers need to know that the people who made their clothes and grew their food have decent work and can live decent lives.

There must be no more fashion victims.

If Labour wins the General Election we will work with governments, companies and NGOs, to raise factory standards, tackle child labour and ensure a decent wage for workers.

Today we face the greatest refugee crisis since the second world war.

More of the world’s poorest people are living in fragile and conflict affected states.

Climate change will cause more suffering.

And yesterday’s devastating earthquake in Nepal reminds us how quickly disaster can strike.

We fully support efforts by this government to provide all necessary assistance to the people of Nepal.

The humanitarian system is creaking under the pressure.

Over the past 2 years we have seen a huge tragedy unfolding in the Mediterranean.

People fleeing conflict in Syria, Libya and East Africa are putting their lives into the hands of the traffickers because the world is turning away in their hour of need.

A Labour government would tackle these challenges through focussing on  the difficult long-term tasks of peacebuilding and nation-building.

We want children affected by conflict to have the psycho-social services they need, and the right to go to school.

Every child protected from violence and sexual violence.

Labour will lead work to reshape the humanitarian system.

It must be more than just food, water and shelter.

We welcome Save the Children’s new humanitarian leadership academy to speed up humanitarian response and make it less bureaucratic.

Few people have done more to bring coherence to the world’s humanitarian system than our special guest speaker.

A Labour peer since 1997, she has served as Leader of the House of Lords and as British High Commissioner to Australia

And when she became Secretary of State for International Development in 2003 she was the first black woman to serve in the UK Cabinet.

Please give a warm welcome to the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs,  

my friend and colleague

Baroness Valerie Amos

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