The Conservatives have just voted to cut international aid.
Earlier Parliament voted on a motion brought forward by the UK Government on UK aid spending overseas. Labour opposed this shameful attempt by the Conservative Government to turn its back on the world’s poorest during a pandemic, a climate emergency and intensifying conflict. However, I am bitterly disappointed that the motion passed, approving the Government’s decision to slash UK aid by £4bn.
Let’s be clear -slashing aid costs lives. The world’s most vulnerable will pay the price for the Conservative’s callous political choice not to restore the aid budget from 0.7% to 0.5% GNI – a decision with which every living Prime Minister and Tory MPs vehemently disagree. The Government’s weaselling out of its commitments will mean lifelines slashed, lives lost, more children going hungry, less girls educated, vulnerable communities left unvaccinated and the UK less safe.
The UK Government’s promise to return to 0.7% is as hollow as it is false. The Chancellor’s economic criteria will lead to an indefinite cut as conditions to return to 0.7% may not be met for decades to come. And they know it.
Today, Labour fought to make good on Boris Johnson’s shameful retreat from the world stage. We fought to save lives, to create a more secure world and we fought for the UK Government to keep its promises – both to the world’s most vulnerable and to the British public who voted for the Conservatives and their 0.7% manifesto pledge. We’ll continue to fight this reckless cut and its impact that will reverberate across the world.