Archbishop joins charities and aid groups in calling for maintaining 07% benchmark as Treasury considers cuts
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has warned the government against cutting billions of dollars in Britain’s overseas aid budget as part of this spending review week, as he called on the country to remain loyal to the world’s poorest in « hard times as well as the good »
In an important intervention on the threat of aid spending, Welby said he saw firsthand the impact of British aid and how « our generosity and our strategic contribution has truly changed lives and communities for the better ” ??
It comes amid an outcry from charities and aid groups after it emerged that the Treasury plans to cut more than £ 4bn from the aid budget and violate its commitment to spend 07% of gross national income on aid every year Considered plans would see it temporarily cut to 05% This decision is under review as Chancellor Rishi Sunak examines ways to reduce the UK’s record deficit in time of peace
Welby latest to raise concerns: Conservatives, aid groups and charities have already spoken out There are also concerns within cabinet over any cuts Foreign Minister Dominic Raab has made the government praise 0 7% aid target no later than last week
– I have seen the good done by British aid around the world, – Welby told the Watcher â ???? Our generosity and our strategic contribution have truly changed lives and communities for the better In his teaching, Jesus tells us that we must not limit our conception of neighbor to only those close to us We must heed this message in difficult times as well as in good ones
– Global recovery from economic consequences of pandemic requires global response Maintaining our commitment to aid is a strong signal that the UK is a reliable partner for economic, social, environmental and economic progress. long term education around the worldat ????
His warning follows similar concerns from former Prime Ministers David Cameron and Tony Blair, who said on Saturday that a cut in aid to help pay for the fallout from the coronavirus would hit Britain’s « soft power »? ??? in world affairs John Major also has concerns It comes after Boris Johnson announced a £ 16 4-year defense budget increase of £ 16
Former Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt led Tory opposition to the proposal Last week he urged Boris Johnson not to listen to voices in his ear that say how to fund [the additional spending defense] is a temporary reduction of the 07% aid commitment… In a year where an additional 100 million people have fallen into extreme poverty, I know that he would not want to send the wrong signal to the world about our values as a countryâ ????
However, the PM has repeatedly avoided requests to exclude a 7% 0Engagement cut Downing Street has said there may be circumstances when the suspension of the aid target was the right decision The target is enshrined in law, but can be avoided without a change in the law in times of economic hardship
Almost 200 charities and aid groups have already joined forces to denounce any reduction in the spending target Some say a reduction to 05% in 2021 would mean a reduction of just over £ 4 6 billion, or 30%, compared to 2019
The alliance, comprising Save the Children, Greenpeace UK, Christian Aid and VSO International, warned: â ???? When 115 million people appear on the verge of being pushed back into extreme poverty, now is the time for a collaborative international response to Covid-19 It is a time that requires increased engagement, not diminished, from the UK government in its efforts to make the world healthier, safer and more prosperousat ????
Insiders warn that a 30% cut in aid programs at all levels would have detrimental effects on education, clean water and immunization programs, though ministers could seek to contain some aid schemes and suspend others
The budget dispute comes shortly after the International Development Department’s merger with the Foreign Office, a move that also sparked an uproar The Tory Manifesto pledged to save the 0 spending target of 7 %
A spokesperson for the Treasury said it could not comment on speculation before the expenditure review was announced
Justin Welby, Aid, UK
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