What have I let myself in for?
On June 9th I will be sitting down for a cuppa and chat with Stephen Metcalfe, MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock. This is the first time I have ever done anything like this and must say would probably prefer a brandy than a cup of tea to calm my nerves!
I was persuaded (note from Denise – encouraged!) to contact my MP and july emailed him with fingers crossed that he would say “no” but he said “yes”. As the day dawns, I am feeling a little more confident due to the excellent help and suggestions given in the briefing.
Are you free on June 9th and able to come along and join me and others in lobbying our MPs? Stephen Metcalfe will be meeting me at 2.15pm – find out when your MP will be lobbied on the Tea time for change website.
I’m talking about Tea Time for Change. It’s a fantastic idea from CAFOD and other development agencies to hold a mass lobby of UK politicians in Westminster City Hall in London. We’re going to be making sure MPs know that effective aid, promised by the UK government, is vital right now but is certainly not enough on its own. In order for the wheels within wheels that perpetuate poverty to be dismantled, rich countries like the UK can do much more at a policy level to make sure that good development work is not undermined by bad international practices.
So I will be explaining to my MP that multi-national companies must open up their payment books so everyone can see what money goes where and to whom in developing countries. This will give citizens the information they need to hold their governments to account about payments that could be used for development. Transparency means accountability – to shareholders, to the company’s country of origin and most importantly to the people in the country where these companies set up shop. And we’ll also be calling for an end to companies getting away with tax evasion.
One of our other key asks will be for the UK government to put its heads together to find and support new ways of funding development, like a Robin Hood Tax on financial transactions, so that new money can be found to keep up with the needs of poor communities who face new challenges such as climate change.
All this over a cup of tea! Sounds good doesn’t it?