Scottish MP, Martyn Day, raises concern about Malawi Food Crisis

15 September 2016

Martyn Day, MP for Linlithgow and East Falkirk, highlights the food crisis in Malawi and welcomes the UK Government's commitment to assisting Malawi at this urgent time.

Martyn Day, MP for Linlithgow and East Falkirk and friend of the Scotland Malawi Partnership, has lodged an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons highlighting the food crisis in Malawi and welcoming the UK Government’s commitment to assisting Malawi at this urgent time.

The Parliamentary Motion reads:

“This House welcomes the £24 million announced by the Government to support Malawi in the ongoing food crisis; notes with concern that Malawi is facing severe famine with an estimated 6.5 million people in that country identified as requiring emergency food assistance over the coming months; further notes that the widespread crop failures in Malawi are the result of extreme weather events attributable to climate change; notes the potentially catastrophic challenge presented by climate change to the world's poorest countries and the need for sustained action to help poorer nations cope with climate shocks and break the cycle of food insecurity; and calls on the Government to ensure that support and development assistance is sustained for the world's poorest countries, like Malawi, to ensure that their long-term resilience is built and maintained.”

The motion is fast attracting cross-party support in the House of Commons, especially amongst Scottish MPs.

We thank Martyn Day MP for his continued support of Scotland’s links with Malawi, helping ensure support for Malawi remains high on the Parliamentary agenda as some 6.5 million Malawians face serious food shortages.

The Scotland Malawi Partnership strongly supports the additional funding provided by the UK and Scottish Governments to assist Malawi as it faces this food crisis. We encourage all our members, partners and supporters to donate to our members’ food crisis campaigns. Funds are currently being matched on a pound-for-pound basis by the Scottish Government.

Martyn Day MP has also lodged a written Parliamentary question for DFID, asking:

“To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment she has made of the effect of the Government's commitment to allocating 50 per cent of her Department's spending to fragile states and regions on the future allocation of development assistance to poor but peaceful countries.”

This was answered by Rory Stewart MP, Minister of State for International Development:

DFID uses a range of factors to determine allocations to countries, including the need of those countries for development assistance, how effective our assistance is likely to be in those countries, and the strategic fit with UK government priorities.

“The 50% commitment is not only the right thing to do but also the smart thing to do for Britain’s national interest. The commitment ensures that we improve the lives of the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world. Poverty is increasingly concentrated in fragile states and regions, and conflict is one of the major challenges to development. Over half of the world’s poor live in fragile states.

“Our work in fragile states and regions will help to build stability, prevent conflict and support economic growth in the world’s poorest countries and regions. Without stability, our gains on poverty reduction risk being reversed.”

We welcome the UK Government’s strong commitment to improving the lives of the poorest and most vulnerable. And we encourage the Government to ensure decision-making is indeed led by what is best for the poorest and most vulnerable and not what is best for Britain’s own national interest.

We stand with others in the third sector, concerned that a target-led approach to spending 50% of ODA in fragile states may make it harder to allocate resources proportionate to where there is greatest poverty.

There is a danger that poor, but thankfully peaceful, countries like Malawi could see a reduced commitment from the UK Government as a result of a target-led approach.

We would be especially disappointed if there were a reduction in support for countries like Malawi given the political commitment to increased investment in the Commonwealth, made by those that campaigned for Brexit.

We hope the UK Government’s forthcoming Bilateral Aid Review includes a formal commitment to not reducing development spend in Malawi.