This is the last article you can read this month
You can read more article this month
You can read more articles this month
Sorry your limit is up for this month
CAMPAIGNERS criticised the government today for announcing a £2.9 billion cut to its foreign aid budget and using the pandemic as an excuse to do so.
Daniel Willis, aid campaigner at Global Justice Now, said that ministers had made a “choice” to make the cut and that doing so is “not a necessity, even at a time like this.”
He added that the government’s goal to spend 0.7 per cent of gross national income on foreign aid should be “a minimum, not a limit.”
Any cuts to be made should fall on aid spending that has “repeatedly failed to [...] deliver poverty reduction,” Mr Willis said, listing the government’s private development bank, the CDC Group, as an example, as well as large sums of money being given to private contractors to build luxury hotels and private hospitals.
The aid budget cut was announced on the same day that Parliament rose for its summer recess.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the decision to reduce the budget was made because of the economic effects of the coronavirus crisis.
He added that Britain will still meet its commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of gross national income on international development.
Before the Covid-19 crisis, spending on Official Development Assistance was set to be £15.8bn this year.
Government sources said 40 countries were prioritised for foreign aid after a “line by line” review of aid projects had taken place.
But Labour MP Sarah Champion, chairwoman of the Commons international development committee, said that it was “poor practice” to announce the move on the final day of Parliament.
She said the timing meant MPs could not scrutinise it.
It comes after Mr Raab had announced a merger between the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department of International Development (DfID) — a move that MPs and charities condemned last month.
Ms Champion said: “The announcement today raises more questions than it answers.
“The letter speaks of delaying activity and stopping some spending — what is the timescale on this?
“If it is with immediate effect, do the projects know [already] or will they find out via the media, as DfID staff did about the merger? Is there an overarching strategy in place?
“Will the evaluation of the impact of these cuts be made public? Where is the scrutiny?
“Clearly there has been no consultation, but to release this news literally as Parliament rises so there can be no scrutiny by MPs is poor practice.”
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £1 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.