UK aid budget cuts ‘deeply alarming’, says CAFOD Director
24 November 2020
Plans to cut the UK’s overseas aid budget signal the UK government has “turned its back on the world”, according to CAFOD Director Christine Allen.
Allen said there was “no argument” for the government to scrap its commitment to supporting the world’s poorest communities.
The government has announced as part of its latest spending review that it will renege on its pledge to spend 0.7 per cent of national income on foreign aid.
The news means that UK support for the poorest people around the world will be slashed by billions of pounds at a time when the coronavirus pandemic threatens to push more than 100 million people into extreme poverty.
Aid not a ‘charitable favour’ to the world
Christine Allen said:
“At a time when international solidarity and cooperation across borders is needed more than ever, it is deeply alarming that the government has chosen to turn its back on the world.
“Aid spending on tackling global poverty must not be treated as a charitable favour to the world, but as Britain’s moral duty.
“Britain became one of the world’s wealthiest nations due to its long history of colonisation and use of fossil-fuelled industrialisation.”
Aid cuts plan slammed
CAFOD’s Director was one of dozens of leaders from different charities, faith groups and political parties to criticise the announcement.
“We recognise the economic challenges we face at home, but when the government has increased spending on defence, there can be no argument to reduce spending on the means to tackle conflict and its causes.
“Yet despite our wealth, this government has decided to take money from the world’s poorest.”
The news of the aid budget cut follows the abolition of an independent Department for International Development earlier this year.
Aid must be spent on tackling poverty
With the announcement of cuts to the UK aid budget, it is more important than ever that every penny of UK aid is spent on tackling global poverty.
Allen’s statement insists that the UK government ensure UK aid is “always used to tackle global poverty”.
CAFOD has previously criticised the government’s misuse of the aid budget where it has been redirected away from poverty reduction towards projects that serve the UK’s commercial and security interests instead.
Any cuts to the aid budget must be made from those funds that can’t clearly demonstrate their direct impact on poverty alleviation. This means no more money should be spent through the CDC Group or the Prosperity Fund – two areas of aid spending that have come under criticism for failing to meet poverty reduction objectives.
What does the law say on the aid target?
Under the International Development Act 2002, the government is legally obliged to spend all UK aid on tackling poverty.
Additional legislation that came in to force in 2015 enshrined the UK’s commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of national income on overseas aid.