Scrapping foreign aid shows Govt abandoning world stage
Responding to reports that the Chancellor is set to scrap Foreign Aid, Liberal Democrat International Development spokesperson Wendy Chamberlain said:
"For too many vulnerable people in need around the world, UK foreign aid has made the difference between life and death.
"Despite previous assurances, the mask has now slipped and we can see the callous Tories for who they really are.
"By scrapping foreign aid, the Government is abandoning the world stage and turning a blind eye to the crippling poverty children face around the world.
"Now more than ever we need oversight and scrutiny by retaining the ICAI, the International Development Committee and a Development Minister in Cabinet."
The text of the cross-party letter is below.
Dear Prime Minister,
In your statement to the House of Commons you acknowledged the world class expertise amassed by the Department for International Development. You also suggested Parliament may wish to establish a new committee to scrutinise the new department.
To allay the widespread concern that the world class reach of UK aid and its focus on poverty reduction and the sustainable development goals may be diluted in the new department, may we urge you to support retaining the widely respected and effective International Development Committee? May we also suggest that that you consider maintaining a Development Minister in the Cabinet?
As has been widely commented, aid and diplomacy, while complementary, perform different functions and draw on different skill sets. The wide range of foreign policy considerations that a single committee would need to consider would make the detailed scrutiny of the aid dimension radically diminished compared with the work of the IDC.
Your colleague Andrew Mitchell, transformed DFID, reviewing bilateral, multilateral and humanitarian policy and establishing the highly effective International Commission for Aid Impact. Can we strongly recommend that the Commission is retained and continues its work in partnership with the IDC?
The strength of the UK aid commitment, the achievement and maintenance of the 0.7 per cent of GNI aid budget and the focus on poverty reduction and the SDGs has been achieved by sustained cross party consensus.
The new proposals abruptly announced without consultation have caused dismay across all parties, including you own. Adopting the measures we are proposing would go a considerable way to reassuring those who wish to maintain the UK's world leadership on development and the soft power benefits it brings.
It would also give a strong signal that the new arrangement will not lead to the UK abandoning its commitments to the poor people of the world living in low income countries.
We look forward to a constructive and positive response.
Lord Malcolm Bruce
Andrew Mitchell MP
Sarah Champion MP
Lord Triesman (former DFID Minister)
Baroness Featherstone (former DFID minister)
Baroness Northover (former DFID Minister)
Lord Foulkes (former DFID Minister)
Wendy Chamberlain MP
Baroness Bakewell of Hardington Mandeville
Baroness Burt of Solihull
Lord Campbell of Pittenweem
Lord Foster of Bath
Lord Goddard of Stockport
Baroness Harris of Richmond
Lord Purvis of Tweed
Baroness Scott of Needham Market
Lord Shutt of Greetland
Lord Stoneham of Droxford
Lord Thomas of Gresford
Baroness Thomas of Winchester
Lord Wallace of Saltaire
Lord Wallace of Tankerness
Pauline Latham MP
Lord Collins of Highbury
Lord Hunt of Chesterton
Lord Browne of Ladyton
Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb
Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle
Chris Law, Spokesperson for International Development
Earl of Sandwich