In general, the cut to the UK’s aid budget is horrendously vicious, as it takes money away from some of the poorest people in the world and programmes that are in place to help them. In the case of health aid, the cut also becomes deadly.
One example of this is that £150m is being cut from the Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) initiative. The Telegraph estimates that, without the funding to distribute them, almost 200m doses of medicine for the treatment of NTDs will expire and go to waste. This cut alone could cause up to 30,000 needless deaths.
I do not accept that we must choose between helping British people and people abroad. Neither group should lose vital support whilst there are tax avoiders and tax dodgers still getting away with ripping-off the country.
I also don’t agree with the argument that this is necessary to help the country recover from the effects of the pandemic. The £4bn that is to be cut from the life-saving aid budget will not cover the hundreds of billions of pounds that we need to recover.
In addition to the cut itself, I am very concerned about the Government’s refusal to allow MPs to vote on the cut, even though the 0.7% figure is enshrined in law and was promised in the Government’s manifesto.
As you may know, some MPs tried to secure a vote by introducing an amendment to the Advanced Research and Invention Agency Bill on 7 June, however, the Commons’ Speaker ruled that it could not be debated because it was outside of the scope of the Bill. The Speaker added that the Government should allow MPs a chance to vote on the aid cut at some point.
The calls for a vote were repeated by MPs at an emergency Commons debate on 8 June, however, the Prime Minister maintains that no vote will be held.
I can assure you that I will continue to support efforts to hold a vote on the planned cut to foreign aid, and, given the opportunity, I will vote against the cut.