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Conservative development aid cuts are shameful

April 23, 2021 10:01 AM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats
These cuts will make us all less safe, they are not in our national interest and betray a lack of a moral compass in this government's heart.

The Conservatives are cutting our commitment to overseas aid at the time it is needed most.

We're in the middle of a global pandemic - global problems need global solutions. Instead, the Conservatives are shirking their moral and legal responsibilities.

Cutting funding to research and development will directly impact our ability to help vital Covid response work worldwide, such as genome sequencing to detect new variants.

The Conservative Government has broken its manifesto pledge and cut spending on international aid from 0.7% to 0.5% of Gross National Income (GNI). That may sound like a small change, but the difference is billions of pounds in funding withheld from the countries that need it most, and thousands of lives are already being impacted.

4.5 million fewer children will get an adequate education, 5.6 million fewer children a year will be immunised, and we will see 100,000 more preventable deaths. This cannot be the legacy of the UK's development policy.

These cuts will make us all less safe, and they are not in our national interest.

Money for conflict resolution has been slashed.

Girls' education is absolutely vital for long-term development, and the Government repeatedly claims it's a priority, so why is more UK aid money being spent on trade?

The UK can afford to spend 0.7% GNI on international development both when our economy is doing well, and when we are doing less well. Our commitment to spend 0.7% of GNI on aid is a percentage. It is purposefully designed to rise and fall with the economy. So there was already going to be a cut. But, by reneging on the 0.7% commitment, what would have been a £1.5bn reduction is now a cut of approximately £5bn. That's a huge difference.

Liberal Democrats will stand up for the 0.7% of GNI commitment, which we enshrined in law. We will work to prevent the UK from hiding from its responsibilities during a global pandemic. We will restore the UK's global reputation.

For many vulnerable people in need around the world, the UK's international development work has made the difference between life and death. At any time, but especially during a global pandemic, this is unforgivable. Dominic Raab and Boris Johnson should be ashamed.

The Conservatives have announced more details of their cuts to overseas aid.

For many vulnerable people around the world, the UK's international development work has been the difference between life and death.

These cuts are wrong and we will continue to oppose them.

- Liberal Democrats (@LibDems) April 21, 2021