FATAL CONSEQUENCES: Cuts to foreign aid slammed, claims it will make pandemic “last longer”
The UK Government’s cut in foreign aid spending “has potentially the fatal consequences of a medium-sized war”, a Conservative former Cabinet minister has warned.
David Davis (Haltemprice and Howden) said: “I understand full well this is a policy imposed by an unintelligent Treasury edict, nevertheless it has potentially the fatal consequences of a medium-sized war.
“On Ethiopia, where the UN tells us 350,000 faced imminent starvation, the minister for Africa yesterday could not tell the House the size of the cut in our aid.
“I understand from impeccable sources we propose to cut that aid by £58 million, more than half. Can the Foreign Secretary confirm the size of that cut and tell the House what we intend to do to reduce the hundreds of thousands of deaths arising from our policy?”
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab replied: “The UK will spend £10 billion in ODA (Official Development Assistance) in 2021, making us the third highest bilateral humanitarian donor country based on the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) data.”
He added: “I don’t accept the proposition he’s put forward, as a global leader in ODA, and we continue to be a global leader in ODA, we stretch to put as much in as we possibly can, of course we’ve got temporary financial exceptional circumstances, but we will get back to 0.7% as soon as we can.”
A Labour MP has said that the “scale and impact” of Government cuts will make the pandemic last longer.
Speaking in the Commons, Alex Cunningham (Stockton North) said: “With the failure of the Prime Minister to deliver a credible plan for vaccinating the world at the G7 compounding the savage cuts of 80% to clean water and sanitation programmes which we all know are the best way of slowing the spread of Covid-19, does the minister agree that the scale and impact of these cuts on the lives and life chances of the poorest people in the world are devastating and the pandemic will kill more people and actually last longer as a result?”
Foreign Office minister Wendy Morton said in response: “I am not sure whether (Mr Cunningham) was following entirely all of the announcements at the G7 at the weekend because we announced that we will donate 100 million vaccine doses in the next year, with five million by the end of September.
“Our Prime Minister led the G7 to help commit to ensure global vaccination by the end of 2022 and also announced plans to share one billion vaccine doses and to expand vaccine manufacturing as well.”
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