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Wednesday, July 14, 2021

A broken promise

I have already written on this blog about the consequences of cutting overseas aid from the legally required 0.7% of GDP. 

The cuts will of course hit the world's poorest children, with humanitarian aid to war-torn Yemen being slashed by 60 per cent from £197m to £87m; funding for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative down from £100m to just £5m; girls’ education funding reduced by 40 per cent compared with the previous four years; 85% of UK funding for the UN agency supplying contraceptives and medicines lost; and funding for water, sanitation and hygiene projects expected to fall by more than 80 per cent.

And then there is the argument that these cuts will undermine post-Brexit trade and diplomacy with former foreign office minister Baroness Liz Sugg using her resignation letter to the prime minister, to say: “Cutting UK aid risks undermining your efforts to promote a Global Britain and will diminish our power to influence other nations to do what is right.”

In particular, it will make it more difficult to tackle climate change, as many of the pledges from poorer countries were on the condition that they would receive financial support from richer nations. David Davis, the Tory MP for Haltemprice and Howden argues that these cuts risk throwing away “enormous influence” on the world stage and lead to preventable deaths. He believes that cutting aid will result in a diminution of UK influence in key parts of the world such as Africa, where China is establishing a foothold.

The former Conservative chief whip, Andrew Mitchell agrees. He believes that far more than 100,000 people — which was the original estimate — of avoidable deaths will take place as a result of these terrible cuts. This is especially true in the middle of a pandemic, when failure to help third world countries cope with covid and its consequences risks prolonging the life of the disease and subsequently bringing further variants back to the UK.

Despite all this, the government ploughed on with the cut and won a vote in the House of Commons yesterday by 333 to 298, a majority of 35, to back reducing overseas aid spending from 0.7% of gross national income to 0.5%. This broken manifesto promise, Ministers insist, is a "temporary" move amid high government spending caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Nobody expects it to be restored.

And what does it save? The £4.4bn reduction in overseas aid pales in significance when compared to the £37bn wasted by this government on the dysfunctional and ineffective English track and trace system. 

Boris Johnson's little Englander attitude has once more diminished the UK's place in the world, has put lives at risk and has done so to help pay for his government's own incompetence.

Letters were sent out to certain MPs who had said they would vote to maintain the aid.These then voted for the Govnt.Were these letters some sort of bribe by Sunak and Johnson?
We were the 2nd largest donator (Germany No1). Now we are well down the list.At ground level the packages are labelled UKAID It is inevitable that this cut will be noticed and our soft power will go as we WILL BE JUDGED.It opens the door for more Chinese influence in the area.
Johnson has form on his dislike of Africans and others. Also the dislike of the poor in general (unless to get votes).This is just a true to form move by him.
The small amount saved ,where will it be spent or will it be paid to reduce the borrowing?
Our National Debt has been around since the 1700s.No chance of that being paid off which is what Johnson talked about NOT the borrowing.The money 'saved' will disappear in no time for it is but 'chicken feed' in the game but WOULD have helped us have some positiveness abroad.That is now destroyed as it will go around the World for Aljazeera (and no doubt others) have reported it.
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