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Doing the decent thing - Aid spending

June 7, 2021 8:00 AM
Originally published by Babergh South Suffolk Liberal Democrats
cr55The years of coalition government may get mixed reviews now but one thing Liberal Democrats are proud of is the passing of a law to force Govts to spend 0.7% of national income on aid. We were one of the first countries to do so.

Despite the fact it was a manifesto commitment for the Conservatives at the last election the Prime Minister decided to junk the promise on the grounds of affordability even though the actual amount spent was already due to drop significantly as the covid lock-downs reduced the size of the economy on which it was calculated. A further reduction to 0.5% is now being implemented although stories of last minute cuts and poor interactions with aid agencies suggest an unplanned shambolic approach, so typical of this government in many other spheres of activity.

When pressed the government makes no commitment when the cuts will be restored and the law upheld

For Mr Johnson and his populist government slashing spend on aid appeals to a portion of their supporters who dislike foreign aid full stop or say that charity begins at home ( Tell that to our kids who are getting 1/5th of funding in US and 1/8th of that in the Netherlands to help catch up on learning missed during school lock-downs!)

The aid reduction has meant millions of pounds less is being spent on supporting girls' education, reproductive health, clean water, HIV/AIDS, the humanitarian crisis in Yemen and Syria, and hundreds of other projects.

Charities warned that millions of women and children would not receive food and support and have predicted that more than 100,000 people could die as a result of the government's decision.

The United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, has described the aid cuts as a "death sentence"

To their credit a growing number of Tory MPs ( 30 at the time of writing) from across the Party have threatened to rebel on this issue ( All three living Conservative Ex Prime Ministers support the restoration of the cuts) and attempts will be made to put this to a vote next week in parliament

As Liberal Democrats we believe we have a moral duty to the world's poorest. We will vote again