A CUP of tea in the cool hall of a Stockton Heath church could not be much more further from the topic of conversation for international development secretary Justine Greening.

The MP was in town on Thursday to hear of the work being done in Burma by the Sankey Valley Methodist Circuit Charity.

Churches from Lymm up to Penketh have been working together to help raise thousands for The Wesley Hospital based in Upper Myanmar in the north west of the volatile country.

And Ms Greening, joining Warrington South MP David Mowat, swapped tales of the work her department is doing to help the country too.

She said: “I think it continually surprises me how generous people are in our country and how prepared they are to help people who are in need.

“It’s that support that is the reason why we have some of the most inspiring charities in the world that grew up here such as Oxfam, Cafod and Save the Children.

“It’s a wonderful thing as we have always been prepared to look outside at the rest of the world and take on the world’s problem and tackle them.”

As well as funding health programmes in the country the Government is also surprisingly offering help in unexpected ways such as HMRC staff helping to set up the country’s tax system and staff from the Houses of Parliament are showing how it runs diplomatic processes.

And what does she have to say to those who criticise the Government spending 0.7 per cent last year on international development?

“We can be proud of the work we do as a government,” she added. “It means 99.3 per cent is still going right here in the UK.

“We need to be working in the countries that really need our help, not those that have developed which is why we have gradually shut projects in places like China, Russia and latterly India.

“China is a huge marker for us and only 10 years ago we would have talked about the same concerns as in Burma. It means we can move from aid to trade and that is best in the long run for everyone.”