14 July 2021
Reaction to Commons' vote on international aid budget reduction
The following statement has been released on behalf of the Methodist Church, the Baptist Union of Great Britain and the United Reformed Church following the vote in the House of Commons to reduce the UK's foreign aid budget and to impose new financial tests before restoring the legal commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income on aid:
"The decision to renege on the UK’s international development commitment is unfair, unwise and immoral.
The UK Aid programme plays a vital role in helping to tackle poverty and support sustainable development in the poorest places in the world. The shrinking economy in 2020 already meant that the international development budget would be reduced, and cutting this further by reducing the target from 0.7% to 0.5% has been devastating for many vital and necessary programmes. Plans to provide people with clean water and sanitation have been put on hold, programmes to support women in family planning have been savaged, and the UK’s contribution to combat neglected tropical diseases has been slashed. Under the strict criteria set for a return to the 0.7%, the £4bn cut in annual funding is likely to be perpetuated year on year. This decision will undoubtedly cost many lives.
"Other major economies have shown leadership during the pandemic by increasing their international development programmes. The UK government’s cut in international development stands in contrast to its recent announcement of the largest programme of spending on defence since the end of the Cold War. As those called to love our neighbours as ourselves in an interconnected world, we regard yesterday’s vote as heartless and self-defeating."
Lynn Green, General Secretary of the Baptist Union of Great Britain
The Revd Sonia Hicks, President of the Conference of the Methodist Church
Mr Peter Pay and the Revd Clare Downing, Moderators of General Assembly, United Reformed Church
Read a statement from All We Can, the relief agency for the Methodist Church, here.