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Save the Children at party conferences 2012

Baroness Northover and Sir Malcolm Bruce at the Lib Dem international fringe

Save the Children has had another busy party conference season this year, with seven events across our domestic and international work as well as meetings and lots of networking at each.

Post 2015 – a new framework

Our foreign policy events at Lib Dem and Conservative conferences posed the question: “How can aid best help the world’s poorest people out of poverty?”

Baroness Northover, Government Spokesperson on International Development and Lord Malloch-Brown, discussed  issues including the development framework that will replace the Millennium Development Goals, how the private sector can help lift people out of poverty, and the incredible progress in cutting child mortality over the past decade.

Committed to 0.7%

Conservative Foreign Office Minister, Mark Simmonds said that he saw “no possibility of [the government] resigning from its commitment” to spending 0.7% of GNI on aid but suggested that the best way to foster economic transformation in developing nations was to ensure stability and prevent conflict.

Lord Malloch-Brown also welcomed a focus on “the best investments for development gains” – health and education.

Mark Simmonds at the Conservative international development fringe

Early intervention in the spotlight

Stephen Twigg at the Labour UK education policy fringe

The domestic policy fringes heard from influential party spokespeople including Shadow Education Secretary Stephen Twigg, Dan Rogerson MP, chair of the Lib Dem backbench education committee and David Pugh, Conservative member of the LGA’s Children and Young People’s Board.

Stephen Twigg said that Labour would support campaigns against cuts to the early intervention budget and echoed our calls by saying that spending plans in Labour’s education budget would focus on prevention rather than catch-up.

David Pugh at the Conservative event shared audience’s concerns on cuts to the Early Intervention Grant and said that he would take steps to ensure that early intervention programmes within his area remained protected.

At Lib Dems, Dan Rogerson said that the party was committed to early intervention to support children from the poorest backgrounds achieve their full potential and that we needed to ‘open the space’ to new and innovative means of investment.

A reception with the minister

Rachel Reeves speaking at the Labour reception

Our evening receptions at Labour and Conservative conferences provided a great opportunity to hear from senior members of each party, with audiences of grassroots members, senior politicians, opinion formers and fellow NGOs.

Rachel Reeves, Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, spoke of her pride of the Labour government’s involvement in forming the Millennium Development Goals. Ivan Lewis, Shadow International Development Secretary, echoed that pride and welcomed the Government’s commitment to maintaining spending levels on development aid.

A joint reception with ConservativeHome  saw the screening of our film on aid which was made in partnership with various influential members of the party. We also heard Education Secretary, Michael Gove state that he was “proud of Conservative Party support for Save the Children”.

Michael Gove speaking to Justin Forsyth and Bernie Aryeetey at the Conservative reception

Looking ahead

Conference 2012 has been a great experience, with all of the usual rumour and speculation. Some say that conference season will soon be a thing of the past, as it loses relevance and becomes increasingly expensive for party members. Who knows what lies in store for conference 2013?

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