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What do the party manifestos say about international development?

The general election is now just over two weeks away.

With all the major parties having now released their manifestos, we have been looking at what they each say about international development, and consider what this might mean for the sector in the next parliament.

We are presenting them in order of where each party currently stand in the polls.


In terms of the sector’s key asks, Labour have not committed to an independent department within the first term of a Labour government, but have said they will “strengthen international development work within the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.”

Although the manifesto contains a promise to return to 0.7% “as soon as the fiscal situation allows”, Labour have not clarified exactly what their criteria and timelines are for this, or whether these might differ from the current government’s commitments.

In terms of an overall vision, the Labour manifesto states it wishes to “turn the page to rebuild Britain’s reputation on international development with a new approach based on genuine respect and partnership with the global South to support our common interests”.In terms of policy priorities, Labour have said that they will prioritise supporting economic transformation, tackling unsustainable debt, empowering women and girls, supporting conflict prevention, and unlocking climate finance.

The Labour manifesto also contains a commitment to Palestinian statehood, saying “We are committed to recognising a Palestinian state as a contribution to a renewed peace process which results in a two-state solution with a safe and secure Israel alongside a viable and sovereign Palestinian state”, describing statehood as “the inalienable right of the Palestinian people”.

The full manifesto can be read here.


The Conservative manifesto is promising to introduce a “strict national interest test” for all future international development spending, although there is not much detail on what any such test might involve.

It confirms that a Conservative government would maintain the FCDO merger and promises to “use our influence to ensure Multilateral Development Banks get more money to the countries who need it and work to deliver debt relief”.

If the Conservatives form the next government, their manifesto states that the International Development White Paper would continue to inform their overall international development priorities, with a focus on delivering the Sustainable Development Goals and tackling poverty.

It also contains commitments to supporting marginalised communities around the world, to campaigning against child marriage and FGM, and to scaling up global health interventions, as well continuing the UK’s support for GAVI and the Global Fund.

It pledges to ring-fence the UK’s contributions to International Climate Finance, and to publish a new Soft Power Strategy. There is no change to the party’s previous position on recognising Palestinian statehood only “at a time that is most conducive to the peace process”.

In terms of global civic freedoms, the manifesto pledeges that a Conservative government would “stand up for those persecuted for their faith and put the existing role of Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief on a statutory footing. We will promote international media freedom and work to end human trafficking and modern slavery.”

The full manifesto can be read here.


The Reform party has called for cuts of 50% to international development spending and promises a “major review” into “the effectiveness of overseas aid”. It also describes wanting to review the “global quangos” to which the UK contributes £7 billion each year, which presumably refers to multilateral development spending through bodies such as the Global Fund.

The manifesto can be read here.

Liberal Democrat

The Liberal Democrat manifesto pledges to re-establish an independent Department for International Development, and for a return to 0.7% of UK aid spending.

There are pledges on increasing UK humanitarian assistance to Sudan, on official and immediate recognition of a Palestinian state, and a foreign policy agenda “with gender equality at its heart”.

The full manifesto can be read here.


The Green party manifesto contains a pledge to increase UK aid spending to 1% of GDP by 2033, and climate finance for the Global South to 1.5% of GNI by 2033, with an additional contribution to a newly established Loss and Damage Fund.

The full manifesto can be read here.


The SNP are yet to release their manifesto. Once they do, we will add them to this blog.

Plaid Cymru

Plaid Cymru supports “the United Nations target for countries to spend 0.7% on international aid and calls on the next UK Government to reinstate that commitment as a matter of urgency. This funding should be used for internationally recognised aid purposes.” They also support statehood for Palestine and an immediate ceasefire.

The manifesto can be read here.

For more on what we’d like to see from the next UK government, check out Bond manifesto 2024: a global system for people and the planet, which sets out the practical steps the next UK government can take to pursue a progressive international development agenda, help secure delivery of the SDGs and evolve its global role from that of a donor and ‘saviour’ to a partner acting in solidarity.


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