Brown: The 'lost decade' for development

Mr Brown batted away questions about his attendance in the House of Commons
Mr Brown batted away questions about his attendance in the House of Commons

By Peter Wozniak

The millennium development goals (MDGs) will not be met by 2015, Gordon Brown has told a committee of MPs.

The former prime minister batted away questions from the international development committee concerning his attendance in the House of Commons to focus on what he called a "lost decade for development".

Mr Brown said: "I'm struck by the contrast between the potential for this decade and the probable outcome for this decade.

"We will not meet the millennium development goals the way we are going. We will not meet the targets for Africa... we're about ten to twenty billion pounds short per year."

Asked whether the targets were too ambitious to be realistically met, Mr Brown displayed a passionate response, arguing: "To say that every child should be at school by 2015 is not an ambitious target... but a natural right of individuals.

"It is a matter of necessity."

The former prime minister also linked development to security issues. He claimed Al-Qaida would be "exploiting the social discontent" stemming from a lack of education and infrastructure.

Mr Brown has kept a low profile since leaving office in May, only emerging to discuss aid and constituency issues.

Mr Brown swatted away digs at his poor attendance in the House, calling them a "diversion".

International development was the only department to receive a substantial boost to its budget in the spending review. The government has committed itself to increasing aid contributions to 0.7% of GDP - something Mr Brown told the MPs the coalition was unlikely to achieve.


Politics @ Lunch

Friday lunchtime. Your Inbox. It's a date.