Tan Dhesi MP for Slough
I am deeply concerned by the UK Government’s decision to reduce aid spending from the legally binding target of 0.7% of gross national income to 0.5% in 2021. This is despite its manifesto pledge to maintain the 0.7% commitment.
I am very concerned that this decision will make it harder for the UK to tackle global poverty and injustice, and create a safer, healthier and better world for us all. Indeed, in March 2021, the International Rescue Committee said it had already seen the impact of cuts to its programmes that provide vital services to vulnerable women and girls.
The UK has a proud history of stepping up and supporting those in need. We must not abandon our responsibilities to the world’s most vulnerable. Ahead of hosting the G7 summit and COP26 (the United Nations Climate Change Conference) this year, we must lead by example. However, the UK is the only G7 nation to cut its aid budget this year. The UK Government must reverse this decision.
I firmly believe the 0.7% commitment is a vital way to achieve future shared prosperity and peace around the world. COVID-19 has shown us how interconnected the world is, and how vulnerable we are to global challenges. Aid is vital for overcoming these global challenges, saving lives, and building resilience overseas, which protects us at home too.
Worryingly, the Conservative Government has recently announced a reduction in vital support to Yemen. It pledged to provide at least £87 million in aid to Yemen over the course of the financial year 2021-22, which is a significant decrease from the £160 million it pledged last year. This is a time when Yemeni people need help the most, as the United Nations has estimated that over 16 million people in Yemen will be facing crisis levels of food insecurity by mid-2021. We must do more to support them.
Following the Tory Government’s decision to reduce aid to Yemen, I am very concerned about the other priorities where aid spending will be reduced this year.
I assure you I will continue to oppose the decision to reduce the UK’s aid budget.