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A group of celebrities have put their names to a letter on behalf of Oxfam addressed to the G8 leaders meeting in Canada this week.

“G8 leaders meeting in Canada this week must face the fact that collectively their countries have failed to deliver on the promises made to the world’s poorest five years ago,” wrote the stars, who include Annie Lennox, Helena Christensen, Kristin Davis, Colin Firth, Gael Garcia Bernal, Scarlett Johansson, Jim Kerr, Angélique Kidjo, Bill Nighy, Queen Rania Al Abdullah, Martha Wainwright, Desmond Tutu, classic German rockers Die Toten Hosen and many more. "Had the promised aid been delivered it would have had a dramatic effect on the lives of poor people, allowing mothers to survive childbirth, children to attend school and people of all ages greater access to medicines and healthcare.

“Where aid has increased it has made a massive difference. The number of people receiving HIV treatment, for example, has increased tenfold in recent years.

“Now recent gains in reducing poverty are under attack from the economic crisis, climate change and food shortages.

“That is why the G8 club of rich nations must look beyond their own economic struggles and set out how they will fulfil the promises to poor countries made in 2005.

“The G20 must also step up to the plate on global poverty. When considering how the financial sector should repay the costs of the economic crisis, they have an opportunity and a duty to help poor countries hit by a crisis they did nothing to cause.

“A global tax on finance, such as a financial transaction tax or the FAT tax proposed by the IMF, could raise hundreds of billions to help poor countries threatened by rising poverty and climate change. It should not be too much to ask for poor countries to receive their fair share.”

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