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CAMPAIGNERS and charities condemned a Tory report published yesterday for proposing to “effectively abolish” Britain’s international development programme post-Brexit.
The report by Conservative MP Bob Seely and James Rogers, of the right-wing Henry Jackson Society think tank, suggests cutting the overall aid budget from 0.7 per cent to 0.5 per cent.
The document, which includes a foreword by the former foreign secretary Boris Johnson, is set to contribute to a Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) review of Britain’s global role after leaving the EU.
Dubbed Global Britain: A Blueprint for the 21st Century, the report proposes abolishing the Department for International Development and its work to be absorbed by an expanded FCO.
It demands that the definition of aid is broadened and that overseas aid makes a financial return.
The report also proposes handing more money to the Ministry of Defence to increase Britain’s military power.
Global Justice Now director Nick Dearden said that development funds should be used abroad to help set up quality public healthcare, education systems, social housing and access to energy.
“The authors of this report don’t seem to realise that Britain no longer rules the waves, or indeed a quarter of the world,” he said.
“All the imperial delusions of Brexit have been bundled together into a single document.
“Yet beneath the grand fantasies is a real project which would effectively abolish Britain’s international development programme.”
Save the Children CEO Kevin Watkins said the FCO “swallowing up” DfID would result in charities having their “life-saving aid commitment cannibalised.”
Mr Watkins warned against the government “throwing away” its status in international development for “short-term political gain.”
Shadow international development secretary Dan Carden condemned the report for proposing that Britain “turns its back on its commitment to eradicate global poverty.”
Cutting the aid budget would have a “shattering effect” on the world’s poorest, said Gavin Crowden of World Vision UK.
“Every single year, at least 60,000 fewer lives would be saved by immunisation, and at least one million more children would be out of school,” he said.
“This would be a damning legacy for a government that speaks of a ‘global Britain’.”
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