Is foreign aid better spent at home?
There is much controversy over the announcement that there are plans to cut the foreign aid budget after the Spending Review announced yesterday in light of the global pandemic.
Boris Johnson is facing a growing Tory backlash over plans to cut the international aid budget as part of a sweeping Spending Review aimed at dealing with the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis.
The 0.7% target is written into law and Mr Johnson’s 2019 election manifesto promised to keep it, but now it is set to be cut to 0.5% of gross national income (GNI).
A number of prominent Conservatives publicly expressed concern at the move – which formed part of the party’s manifesto – as the Government’s economic forecasts were questioned by some economists.
The overseas aid cut was announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak as one of a number of measures intended to help cope with the economy contracting by an expected 11.3% this year.
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said it was “shameful and wrong”.
Oxfam chief executive Danny Sriskandarajah said: “Cutting the UK’s lifeline to the world’s poorest communities in the midst of a global pandemic will lead to tens of thousands of otherwise preventable deaths.”
The criticism follows interventions ahead of the statement from former prime ministers Sir John Major, David Cameron and Tony Blair, as well as Nobel Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai.
Sir John told The Times: “Cutting our overseas aid is morally wrong and politically unwise. It breaks our word and damages our soft power.
“Above all, it will hurt many of the poorest people in the world.”
Rishi Sunak said the Government had to make firm decisions as Britain faced its biggest downturn for 300 years, with unemployment set to hit 2.6 million by the middle of 2021, according to official forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).
Mr Sunak also announced what amounted to a pay freeze for an estimated 1.3 million public sector workers.
NHS workers will be spared the “pause” in wage rises, and those earning below £24,000 will receive at least £250 extra.
What are your views? Is it right that we cut foreign aid this year in light of the pandemic? Or is it more essential than ever to help those who continue to suffer around the world?
What are your views?
We'd love to hear your comments
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