Two in three Britons think fighting poverty will do more to make the world safe than fighting wars, international development agency ActionAid says today.
This message came in a YouGov poll for the Make Poverty History drive in which ActionAid has a key part.
But all the main political parties contesting the general election lag behind much public opinion on aid.
The poll shows that half of the people interviewed want Britain to meet its commitment to giving 0.7 per cent of national income on aid by 2010 – earlier than all the three main parties’ targets.
And one in four people say the UK should reach 0.7 by the end of next year.
Eight in ten people think international trade rules should be rewritten to help people in poor countries work their way out of poverty.
Three in four people believe rich nations and financial institutions should cancel the poorest countries’ unpayable debts.
Eight in ten people believe the parties must do more to tackle global poverty. And one in three people would be more likely to vote for a party committed to tackling global poverty.
ActionAid senior policy adviser, Patrick Watt, said: "This poll sends a clear alert to all the parties that most Britons think fighting poverty rather than wars will make a bigger difference in the struggle for global security.
"In addition, political leaders must heed the view that one in two people say the parties are dragging their heels on Britain’s pledge to spend 0.7 per cent of our national income on aid to overcome poverty and starvation.
"They should also act on the will of the great majority of people who want the global trade rules changed.
"And, with the poorest countries forced to repay debts rather than spend more on vital provision such as health and education, the message from a large majority of Britons is that rich nations should cancel these dues.
"The overwhelming signal from this poll is that no matter which party wins the election, the British public want far more done to end the scandal of global poverty."