It is vital that the international community do everything possible to help improve access to clean water supplies and sanitation in the developing world and I share your concern that an estimated 2.5 billion people - 1 in 3 across the globe - still lack access to improved sanitation facilities.
There has been some progress on this in the last two decades and, indeed, the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) to halve the proportion of people without access to improved sources of water was met five years ahead of schedule.
I agree, however, that more needs to be done tackle this extremely serious problem. It is often easy to take sanitation for granted, but it is absolutely central to preventing death and disease. I know WaterAid have been highly effective in drawing attention to this and I am sure the upcoming commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the completion of London's sewage system will help remind MPs and the public of this.
I am proud that under successive Governments the UK has been at the heart of international efforts to improve sanitation in developing countries. Indeed, the previous Labour Government more than trebled the UK aid budget and I am pleased that subsequent Governments have committed to provide access to clean drinking water, effective sanitation and education on the benefits of hygiene to 60 million people in developing countries.
As I am sure you are aware, universal access to water and sanitation has been included as one of the recommended goals for the Sustainable Development Goals, which will replace the MDGs later this year. I know this has been welcomed by a number of charities and aid organisations and I agree it is important this stays in the final SDGs. I also believe that the final SDGs need to be achievable, inspiring and have a clear commitment to tackle poverty and inequality by 2030.
I am looking forward to the WaterAid event on 15 July where I will be showing my support for this important cause.
I can assure you that I will continue to follow this issue closely and press the UK Government play a leading role in helping to improve access to sanitation in the developing world.