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UK News Foreign Secretary defends aid cut and outlines priorities in ‘British interests’

18:50  26 november  2020
18:50  26 november  2020 Source:   msn.com

Boris Johnson 'plans to cut foreign aid by £5bn'

  Boris Johnson 'plans to cut foreign aid by £5bn' Boris Johnson is considering temporarily cutting the amount of money Britain spends overseas, which has previously been spent on India's space programme and environmental efforts.Britain sends 0.7 per cent of its gross national income out as foreign aid to support developing countries around the world.

Announcing the foreign aid cut at his one-year spending review on Wednesday, Mr Sunak said the government would instead spend 0.5% of gross national income on overseas aid . The chancellor told the House of Commons the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic meant "sticking rigidly

A Foreign Office minister has resigned in protest against the Government’s decision to cut the overseas aid budget, saying such a move is “fundamentally wrong”.

Dominic Raab has denied the Government is “salami slicing” all parts of the UK’s overseas aid spending as he outlined the priorities for the slashed budget.

Dominic Raab wearing a suit and tie: Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the cut to the foreign aid budget was regrettable but necessary (Yui Mok/PA) © Yui Mok Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the cut to the foreign aid budget was regrettable but necessary (Yui Mok/PA)

The Foreign Secretary said the long-term strategic aims of the country’s international work will be based on “our values and grounded in the British national interests”.

Tackling climate change, Covid-19, girls’ education, conflict resolution and expanding in-house management of aid delivery “in order to increase the impact that our policy interventions have on the ground” were listed by Mr Raab as the top five areas.

Boris Johnson refuses to rule out foreign aid cut to help economy

  Boris Johnson refuses to rule out foreign aid cut to help economy The Prime Minister declined to reject reports of plans to slash the UK's commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of national income on overseas aid to 0.5 per cent in next week's spending review.The Prime Minister declined to reject reports  of plans to slash the UK's commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of national income on overseas aid to 0.5 per cent in next week's spending review.

Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. National Interest , Global Leadership. We lead the UK’s global diplomatic network to advance British interests and focus UK effort on National Security Council (NSC) priority countries, advancing inclusive political processes and protecting UK

ANDREW NEIL has brutally mocked former Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt for his demands over Britain's foreign aid budget. Mr Neil mocked the former Health Secretary on Twitter, after Mr Hunt commented on an opinion piece by Scottish Tory politician Ruth Davidson against the proposed cuts

Conservative MPs continued to voice their opposition to the decision to cut overseas aid from 0.7% to 0.5% of gross national income (GNI) in 2021, with some noting their belief that Mr Raab was not behind the policy.

The 0.7% target is written into law and Boris Johnson’s 2019 election manifesto promised to keep it.

The UK’s annual aid spend from 2021 is expected to be £10 billion once the temporary cut is imposed – compared to the previous figure of £15 billion.

Foreign Office minister Baroness Sugg quit in protest against the plan but Chancellor Rishi Sunak used a round of broadcast interviews to claim Britain is not turning its back on the world’s poorest people.

He admitted it was a “difficult decision” to slash the budget but said the UK is in the midst of an “economic emergency”.

The UK’s aid budget – what you need to know

  The UK’s aid budget – what you need to know Boris Johnson has promised a dramatic increase in defence spending but the aid budget appears to be in the sights of ministers looking to save cash.

Rishi Sunak: current foreign aid budget is difficult to justify – video. The temporary cut to international aid and the imposition of public sector pay restraint, both called for by the Centre for Policy Yvette Cooper, the Labour former work and pensions secretary , says the pay rise for public

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson gave a speech this week which he says “ outlines the case for a modern defence ”, here’s what he said. Our Armed Forces work with them delivering aid in the wake of Hurricane Irma minesweeping in the Gulf and bringing medical support to fight Ebola in West Africa.

chart, line chart: (PA Graphics) © Provided by PA Media (PA Graphics)

Making a statement to the Commons, Mr Raab also expressed “regret” at the decision but said it is necessary as “every penny of public spending will rightly come under intense scrutiny”.

Conservative former international secretary Andrew Mitchell said his party “do not need to break” their 0.7% spending promise, adding it will “drive a horse and cart” through many of the Government’s aid plans.

He added: “It will withdraw access to family planning and contraception for more than seven million women, with all the misery that that will entail, 100,000 children will die from preventable diseases, two million – mainly children – will suffer much more steeply as a result of these changes from malnutrition and starvation.”

Mr Mitchell welcomed commitments to girls’ education but noted: “On existing plans, probably a million girls will not be able to go to school. I hope he will bear in mind these reductions make little difference to us in the United Kingdom but they make a massive difference to them.”

David Cameron and Tony Blair warn foreign aid cuts are a 'mistake'

  David Cameron and Tony Blair warn foreign aid cuts are a 'mistake' Intervention from David Cameron and Tony Blair follows reports that Mr Johnson was planning on slashing the UK's £15 billion foreign aid budget to help cover the UK's £210billion Covid costs.Intervention from the two former Prime Ministers follows reports that Boris Johnson is planning on slashing the £15billion international development budget to help cover the UK's £210billion Covid-19 costs.

Rishi Sunak defended cuts to foreign aid (Image: SKY). "We're talking about eye-watering amounts of money, billions upon billions of pounds that have been Other Tories critical of the move included former international development secretary Andrew Mitchell and chairman of the Commons defence

Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Alan Duncan to make a statement on his Department’s funding of the Institute for Statecraft’s integrity initiative. Duncan’s response was as if copied from the IfS and II website.

Mr Raab, in his reply, said: “With respect I don’t think it’s possible to say with the precision he did about the implications because we’re not going to take a salami-slicing approach of just saying we’ll cut a third from all areas of ODA (official development assistance).

“We’re going to take a strategic approach, we’ll safeguard those areas that we regard as an absolute priority – including many of the things he mentioned, particularly on international public health alongside Covid, climate change and girls’ education.”

Conservative MP and Father of the House Sir Peter Bottomley said it would be “illuminating” to see Mr Raab’s messages to the Treasury and the Prime Minister arguing against the cut, noting: “We know it’s not his idea.”

Theo Clarke, Conservative MP for Stafford, added she is “deeply concerned” by the aid cuts.

chart, bar chart: (PA Graphics) © Provided by PA Media (PA Graphics)

The overseas aid policy was one of a number of measures outlined in the Spending Review intended to help cope with the economy contracting by an expected 11.3% this year.

Mr Sunak also announced what amounted to a pay freeze for an estimated 1.3 million public sector workers and sought to defend the policy on Thursday morning.

Boris Johnson faces Tory backlash over plans to slash foreign aid budget

  Boris Johnson faces Tory backlash over plans to slash foreign aid budget The 0.7% target is written into law and the Prime Minister’s 2019 election manifesto promised to keep it. Conservative Tobias Ellwood, the Defence Committee chairman, warned China and Russia are likely to extend their “authoritarian influence” as a result of the “vacuum” created by the UK “downgrading” its soft power programmes.Tory Pauline Latham (Mid Derbyshire) also suggested the cut will hit education for girls and result in “more child marriages, more instances of early child birth, more FGM, more domestic violence”.

The Chancellor told MPs on Wednesday the economy is not scheduled to recover to pre-crisis levels until the end of 2022.

Conservative MP Anthony Mangnall (Totnes) added: “To say that I am disappointed in this decision is an understatement. I am horrified that we have decided to break a manifesto commitment and I am horrified at the message that this sends to the many women who have suffered such horrendous acts of sexual violence and conflict, especially given the fact that yesterday was the UN day for an international elimination for the violence against women.”

Danny Sriskandarajah, chief executive of Oxfam GB, warned: “By choosing to buy military hardware rather than pay for clean water or medicines, the Government will diminish the UK’s standing in the world.

“MPs of all parties who believe in a truly global Britain or who have spoken out against breaking the UK’s promise to the world’s poorest people now have the chance to vote down this legislation and make the Government think again.”

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