Today (8th June 2021), Rachel Hopkins MP has called on the Government to do the right thing and reverse the cut to the aid budget.
Despite being announced as a key manifesto pledge, the Conservative Government announced last year that it would cut aid spending from 0.7% of the national income to 0.5% – a reduction of more than £4bn. After a number of Luton South constituents contacted Rachel to voice their opposition to such a move she wrote to the Chancellor to convey their concerns.
Since then, Parliament has made it clear, with MPs united from all parties, that it will not turn its back on the world’s poorest. However, the Government is refusing to bring these cuts to a democratic vote. Members of Parliament from across the political spectrum have come together to oppose the aid cuts by forcing an emergency debate in Parliament.
Britain is the only G7 nation to cut aid during this global crisis and now its allies are taking note. With the G7 Summit set to begin later this week, the stubborn refusal by the Government to reverse its decision, will weaken the country’s position considerably. Notably, the US Congress has already written a letter urging the UK to reconsider its position.
Cutting the aid budget means:
- Cutting funding by more than 70% to a research programme that tracked Covid variants, including the Indian variant.
- Cuts to education programmes by 40% will result in 700,000 fewer girls receiving an education.
- Researchers on a cutting-edge £15m programme aimed at advancing gender justice and security in 22 countries were told that they would only receive a third of their promised funding this year with less than four months’ notice, placing women and girls in low income countries “under the threat of violence”.
- An 80% cut to funding for clean water and sanitation projects and leave 100,000 refugees without access to water.
Rachel Hopkins, Member of Parliament for Luton South, said:
“The Government is indicating that it will continue to plough on with these short-sighted and callous cuts despite strong cross-party opposition in Parliament.
The aid budget provides critical support to the world’s most vulnerable people. By cutting the budget during a global crisis, the Conservative Government is retreating from the UK’s moral duty to help solve global challenges like the climate emergency and the global health crisis.
Alongside Labour MPs and other MPs from across the House of Commons, I am calling on the Government to change course and ensure that the world’s poorest continue to have access to clean water, quality education and basic healthcare. If the Government continues with these shameful cuts, it will lead to thousands of avoidable deaths.”
UK’s aid cuts hit vital coronavirus research around world: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2021/apr/30/uks-aid-cuts-hit-vital-coronavirus-research-around-world
Cuts to education programmes by 40% will result in 700,000 fewer girls receiving an education: https://www.devex.com/news/uk-aid-cuts-will-mean-700-000-fewer-girls-get-an-education-ngos-say-99942#:~:text=Cuts%20to%20the%20United%20Kingdom’s,by%20a%20host%20of%20NGOs.&text=The%20U.K.%20targets%20of%20getting,adopted%20by%20the%20G%2D7.
Researchers on a cutting-edge £15m programme aimed at advancing gender justice and security in 22 countries were told that they would only receive a third of their promised funding this year with less than four months’ notice, placing women and girls in low income countries “under the threat of violence”: https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/5050/callous-uk-aid-cuts-threaten-global-gender-equality-goals/
UK to slash funding for overseas water and sanitation projects by 80%:
UK aid cuts of 42% will leave about 70,000 people without health services and 100,000 without water in Cox’s Bazar, the world’s largest refugee settlement, before the deadly cyclone season, the Foreign Office minister for Asia has been warned.