Britain’s aid budget a badge of honour to be defended, says Christian Aid

By agency reporter
February 1, 2019

Responding to reports in The Sun and The Times that Penny Mordaunt, the International Development Secretary has told the Cabinet that the 0.7 per cent aid target is ‘unsustainable’, Christine Allen, director of policy and public affairs at Christian Aid, said: “Politics is already causing huge uncertainty for so many people in Britain. Now is not the time to cause further uncertainty for the world’s poorest by playing politics with Britain’s commitment to international aid.

“We believe Britain’s aid budget is a badge of honour worthy of pride and fierce defence. We are saddened that Penny Mordaunt is not eagerly fighting to maintain and even increase the 0.7 per cent aid commitment given the rising number of people in dire need in Yemen, Syria, and many other emergencies around the world. When heads of government, faith leaders, celebrities and the British public themselves are recognising the need in our world, we expect our DFID Secretary to stand with them and celebrate Britain’s determination to end poverty, and never bow to naysayers. 

“To those who say Britain has many in need at home, we agree; but it is a false choice to help those here or those overseas. As the world’s fifth richest country, we can do both.

“At a time when the world’s eyes are on Britain, signalling even the idea of withdrawing from these international commitments to development is deeply damaging.

“Far from being unsustainable, the world urgently needs greater aid and investment to end poverty, build peace and tackle climate change. A national commitment to aid from the public purse is the least we can do and symbolises our shared promise to our neighbours beyond our shores. Asking others to foot the bill is backtracking and would be a betrayal.”

On the suggestion in The Times that more aid be spent by other government departments, she said: “Britain’s aid budget is not a cookie jar to be raided by other government departments. We know what aid is mandated for – relief of poverty – so where departments can’t demonstrate that they are doing that effectively then they should not get aid money.

“To achieve maximum impact, aid should be focused on outcomes for the poorest, not on which department round the Cabinet gets a slice of the pie.”

* Christian Aid


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