There are no grounds for breaking legal commitments or for turning our backs on countries and people at a time of great need, write Sam Hickey, Uma Kambhampati and others
News that the UK government is set to renege on its commitment to spending 0.7% of gross national income on foreign aid could not come at a worse time for the world’s poorest countries and people and for international cooperation more broadly (UK aid budget facing billions in cuts, 17 November). The World Bank estimates that the Covid-19 pandemic will push an extra 88-115 million people into extreme poverty this year alone, rolling back years of progress that UK aid has helped contribute to. While there is room for debate about the best way to set aid budgets, there are no grounds for breaking legal commitments or for turning our backs on countries and people at a time of great need.
Taken together with the parallel proposals to boost spending on national defence and to restrict employment within the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office to British nationals – which will greatly limit the talent pool from which to recruit and undermine FCDO’s ability to operate effectively in different contexts – this latest move suggests Britain is rapidly becoming a parochial rather than progressive presence in the world. The UK, with its reputation as a global leader on foreign aid and for scientific excellence in vaccine development and beyond, remains well placed to play a leading role in both responding to the pandemic and helping to build a more equal, safer and sustainable global order.
Source: The Guardian
A terrible time for the UK to cut foreign aid | Letter