Letter: Government claims sound like they have a hollow ring
The vote in Parliament to reduce the UK’s International Aid Budget from 0.7 per cent of GDP to 0.5 per cent will cost many tens of thousands of lives in poor countries and cause the scrapping of many educational and life-improving projects around the world.
Apart from harm done on the ground, the breaking of a long-held commitment from successive governments will damage the standing of the UK when the Prime Minister is trying to promote a global Britain.
What is most disturbing is a temporary reduction first proposed will now apply for the foreseeable future.
In order to placate a group of Conservative MPs, a compromise was offered but it was nothing of the sort. It said the 0.7 per cent figure would be restored when certain budget measures were met. This test is unlikely to be met for at least five years. It has only been met once in the last 20 years.
Government claims that it needs to save money might ring less hollow if they had not squandered billions on the calamitous Test and Trace system and on Covid contracts for their chums, not to mention £200million on a new Royal yacht no one needs or wants.
All opposition parties voted against the Government and so did a number of principled Conservative MPs.
Sadly, enough Conservative MPs, including Mr Largan, voted for the measure to pass, making the reduction to 0.5 per cent effectively permanent.
Professor David Vaughan
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