David Cameron said Boris Johnson’s plan to cut Britain’s foreign aid spending by $ 5 billion would be a “ moral, strategic and political ” mistake – while Tony Blairhas called the proposals of “ deep strategic error ”.
The intervention of the two former prime ministers follows reports that Boris Johnson plans to cut the international development budget by $ 15 billion to help cover the costs of the UK’s 210 billion Covid-19.
Britain is currently sending 0.7% of its gross national income as foreign aid to support developing countries around the world.
But Chancellor Rishi Sunak is reportedly pushing for the proportion of foreign aid to be reduced to 0.5%, which would save about $ 5 billion.
David Cameron (left, during National Service of Remembrance) said Boris Johnson’s plan to cut Britain’s foreign aid spending by 5 billion would be a ‘moral, strategic and political’ mistake – while Tony Blair (right) criticized the proposals as ‘a deep strategic error’
The intervention by the two former prime ministers follows reports that Mr Johnson (pictured) planned to cut the UK’s international development budget by 15 billion to help cover the 210 billion costs of Covid-19 from the UK
In a joint statement published in the The telegraph of the dayMr Blair and Mr Cameron said the 0.2% cut could risk leaving Britain behind President-elect Joe Biden ahead of the 2021 G7 summit – which the UK will chair.
Mr Cameron said: ‘Dropping 0.7 [per cent] the objective of the aid would be a moral, strategic and political error ”.
He believes it would shatter Britain’s humanitarian pledges, weaken the country’s role as a world leader and could hamper the UK’s position at the G7 summit next year.
Mr Blair said changing the budget would be a “profound strategic error”, saying the budget was for “enlightened self-interest” and not for charity.
He said Africa – recipient of British aid – was a key strategic player in the global battle to control the coronavirus, tackle climate change and tackle extremism.
In 2005, Mr Blair first pledged that the UK would meet the 0.7% foreign aid target.
In 2013 – under Mr Cameron’s tenure as Prime Minister – the target was achieved and it became law two years later.
In a joint statement published in the Daily Telegraph, Mr Blair and Mr Cameron said the 0.2% cut could risk leaving Britain behind President-elect Joe Biden (pictured) at the upcoming G7 summit – that the United Kingdom will chair in 2021
Prime Minister Boris Johnson reportedly considering temporary cuts to foreign aid budget
Chancellor Rishi Sunak would like to temporarily reduce the UK’s aid pledge from 0.7% of gross national income to 0.5%. Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick today did not dismiss reports that the government is considering the reduction
Earlier this week, Mr Johnson said he intended to cut Britain’s foreign aid budget to help the country’s domestic finances – as he agreed to inject billions more into the forces armies.
The aid program has attracted criticism in the past over some of the projects it has chosen to support, including allocating cash to protect pangolins in China.
Speaking by video conference in Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, the Prime Minister refused to dismiss reports of plans to reduce the UK’s commitment to spend 0.7% of national income on aid to overseas to 0.5% when reviewing next week’s spending.
It came amid reports that he toppled Treasury and Rishi Sunak to agree on a funding deal for the military which will see its budget increase by $ 14.5 billion over the next four years.
British cash-funded projects include a campaign to save pangolins in China, which has seen its share of British foreign aid rise by millions of pounds in recent years.
The Chancellor is due to present a coronavirus-flavored spending review next Wednesday, which will outline the government’s priorities to get the economy back on track.
When asked by the Prime Minister, Labor MP Anna McMorrin called on Mr Johnson to distance himself from reports of the reduction in aid and to “end this decline” on the world stage.
But he responded: “ I think everyone in this country can be extremely proud of the massive commitments this country has made and will continue to make to tackle poverty and deprivation around the world.
“I think they can be even more proud of the commitment we are making now, as the world leader, to tackle the threat of climate change.”
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said earlier that it was “legitimate” to seek savings at a time when public finances are under “enormous strain”.
Downing Street said the government remains committed to supporting the world’s poorest people, but acknowledged officials are looking at how the aid budget is spent.
The UK has previously said it will cut its global aid budget by 2.9 billion this year due to the economic blow from the coronavirus crisis, but that the 0.7% commitment to international development would always be respected.
Official development assistance spending was expected to be 15.8 billion this year before the Covid-19 crisis erupted.
In Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, Labor MP Anna McMorrin urged Mr Johnson to distance himself from reports of the aid cut and to ‘end this decline’ on the world stage.
According to the Times, Boris Johnson wishes any reduction in the 0.7% target – first adopted by the Tories under David Cameron as a signal of how the party had changed – will last no longer than one. year.
The UK’s gross national income in 2019 was $ 2.17 trillion, meaning that a drop of 0.7% to 0.5% would amount to more than $ 4 billion.
The 0.7% target was first approved by the United Nations in 1970, and the UK government has met it since 2013. It was enshrined in law in 2015.
Figures such as Ben Wallace, Secretary of Defense, have touted the need for a high tech overhaul, including drones
Meanwhile, more money will be invested in military spending, The Times reported today.
He claimed Mr Johnson had agreed to a four-year plan for the military.
Personalities including Ben Wallace, Secretary of Defense, have touted the need for a high tech overhaul, including drones.
Mr Sunak has reportedly sought a one-year defense settlement worth $ 1.9 billion as part of the spending review.
The review, which was suspended in April as the coronavirus crisis took hold in Britain, ‘will define the government’s ambition for the UK’s role in the world and long-term strategic goals our national security and our foreign policy. ”