Home U.K Foreign aid bill to be SLASHED: UK to save almost £100m –...

Foreign aid bill to be SLASHED: UK to save almost £100m – leaked document


Foreign aid: Jacob Rees-Mogg says people will ‘welcome’ cuts

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the UK’s overseas aid budget will be cut from 0.7 percent of GDP to 0.5 percent due to the coronavirus pandemic. The move outraged opposition parties and some Tory backbenchers who are demanding a vote in Parliament.

Leaked figures acquired by the OpenDemocracy website reveal some of the cuts Foreign Office chiefs are considering.

Funding for Syria, which has been engulfed by civil war for a decade, could fall by two thirds from £137 million last year to just £45 million in 2021.

Aid to Somalia, which has been torn apart by internal conflict since 1991, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo would be cut by around 60 percent.

Similarly support for Libya, which remains divided between two rival governments, could be slashed by 63 percent under the plans.


The Government is cutting foreign aid from 0.7 percent of GDP to 0.5 percent (Image: GETTY)


UK support for Yemen will fall from £164 million to £87 million (Image: GETTY)

Boris Johnson was criticised earlier this week after it emerged British aid to Yemen, which has been battling famine, will fall to £87 million this year from £164 million in 2020.

Funding for South Sudan could be cut from £110 million to £45 million under the proposals.

Wednesday’s budget saw the foreign office, which took responsibility for foreign aid in September 2020, fall from £12.7 billion to £9.9 billion.

In 2020 the UK economy shrunk by 9.9 percent, the biggest fall since the Great Frost of 1709, due to the coronavirus pandemic and associated lockdowns.

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Britain had been giving 0.7 percent of GDP in foreign aid each year (Image: GETTY)

As a result Britain’s foreign aid budget fell in 2020 before the latest cuts were announced.

There are calls for Parliament to vote on the proposed cut which would violate the 2019 Conservative manifesto pledge to keep aid at 0.7 percent of GDP.

Speaking to OpenDemocracy Tory backbencher Andrew Mitchell accused the Government of “turning its back on some of the most vulnerable people in the world”.

He added: “Nothing like what is being suggested here should be considered until Parliament has given its express consent, which I rather doubt will be forthcoming.”


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Syria has been racked by aid since 2011 (Image: GETTY)


Hundreds of thousands have died in the Syrian civil war (Image: GETTY)

The proposal was also condemned by Preet Kaur Gill, Labour’s shadow international development secretary.

She said: “This is a devastating reminder of the real world impact the Government’s politically motivated decision to abandon its manifesto commitment on aid will have on the world’s most vulnerable people.

“Cuts in support to countries in the midst of multiple humanitarian crises would cause devastation; leading to some of the world’s most vulnerable people to starve, stretched healthcare systems to collapse and access to clean water stripped away.

“Make no mistake, people will die.

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“Callous cuts like this signal a retreat from the world stage and will make us all less safe. This is not Global Britain.”

The Government insists any reduction in international aid will be temporary whilst the UK recovers from the immediate impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Currently the UK spends one of the highest amounts per capita on foreign aid of any major power.


Andrew Mitchell has called for a vote in Parliament on cutting overseas aid (Image: GETTY)

Britain has also pledged to give millions of Covid-19 vaccines to Covax, the UN’s vaccine innovative.

A Government spokesman commented: “The seismic impact of the pandemic on the UK economy has forced us to take tough but necessary decisions, including temporarily reducing the overall amount we spend on aid.

“We remain a world-leading aid donor and we will spend more than £10billion this year to fight poverty, tackle climate change and improve global health.”


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