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Chair of Committee condemns “indefinite” aid cut proposal

13 July 2021

The government is continuing to try to prevent a return to spending the United Nations-recommended 0.7% of national income on overseas aid by proposing hurdles which could delay a return to meeting the target indefinitely, the Chair of the International Development Committee, Sarah Champion MP, said today.

The government-proposed vote being put to the House today contains two conditions that would have to be met if the government were to continue spending 0.7% of national income on assistance to the world’s poorest people.

The two conditions are that the government would only return to 0.7% (from the cut it has made to 0.5%) when the country is not borrowing for day-to-day spending, and when underlying national debt is falling.

But this ‘double lock’ is an incredibly strict test, Sarah Champion said. In the past eight years, she pointed out, these conditions have only been met once.

Sarah Champion MP, the Chair of the International Development Committee, said:

“If Parliament accepts these criteria, then we are accepting an almost impossible test for aid spending and an end to the 0.7% United Nations target by the back door.

“This country has a proud tradition of, for example, helping girls go to school in countries where they would otherwise not be able to attend.

“I really don’t think most Members of Parliament want us to stop this kind of work. I don’t think they will be bamboozled by government tactics aimed at putting hurdles in the road for the UKs support for the poorest in the world.”

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Image: Parliamentary Copyright