Brown returns to lash out at poverty reduction

by Peter Wozniak

Former prime minister Gordon Brown has expressed anger at the lack of progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals [MDG] during a UN gathering of world leaders on the issue.

Mr Brown argued rich countries “weren’t doing enough” to ensure that the MDGs, targets set by the UN in 2000 for reducing poverty, improving healthcare and achieving universal primary education, are met by the deadline of 2015.

He said: “I’m angry because we made commitments that we would meet these Millennium Development Goals.

“We’re not doing enough to honour the promises we made.”

Mr Brown also argued that the goals presented a security issue, saying that religious extremists take advantage of educational poverty to indoctrinate young people in developing countries.

Mr Brown said he was at the gathering to “press people, inspire people and push people into seeing the virtues of education” and making a more concerted effort to fulfil the goal of giving every child access to primary school.

The UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon expressed hope that the targets could be met within the five years left until the deadline, though commentators expect some of the progress to fall short of the MDG’s lofty aims.

Gordon Brown has kept a relatively low profile since leaving office, remaining aloof of UK party politics, and when he has appeared in public it has been restricted to events around international development.

Britain will be represented in New York by the deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, fresh from his brief appearance at the Liberal Democrat conference in Liverpool.