Thu 3 December 2020

Another day, another example from Parliament on how Brexit paralysis is affecting all levels of Theresa May’s government.

Following on reports of how data on Britain’s progress on UN goals was being hidden from Parliament, yesterday the Fair-Trade Foundation’s s head of Policy further claimed that eradicating poverty seems to be ‘not really on the agenda’ of May’s government.

Helen Dennis, Policy and Advocacy Manager for the Fair-trade Foundation today told MPs on the International Trade Committee that the Department for International Trade had been too absorbed in Brexit to think about reducing poverty.

Dennis gave this example: “I went to a briefing about the working group with India and I asked a question about poverty eradication and the extent to which that was being taken into account in the trade working group. I was met with rather confused looks. It seemed that question was not really on their agenda.”

I asked a question about poverty eradication … I was met with rather confused looks. It seemed that question was not really on their agenda.

Helen Dennis, Policy and Advocacy Manager, Fair-trade Foundation

Dennis said that reducing poverty via trade is not being considered in Brexit preparations either: “There is no legal guarantee that development concerns need to be taken into account when setting tariffs which from our point of view is disappointing.”

Steve Waygood, Aviva’s Chief Responsible Investment Officer, presented evidence to MPs that internationally, the UN Goals have a price-tag of up to £70 trillion.

Waywood said that Aviva have founded and are seeding a ‘World Benchmarking Alliance’ for companies to be ranked on their progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. It is hoped the Benchmarking system will encourage a ‘race to the top’ for corporate social responsibility, which, if successful, might lift the pressure slightly from Government.

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