Christian Aid, the UK-based global development agency, has welcomed the government’s international aid pledge, while acknowledging the pain of victims of the public spending cuts in Britain.
In the Comprehensive Spending Review statement in parliament on 20 October, the government promised to stand by its commitment of contributing 0.7 per cent of gross national income to overseas aid from 2013.
Christian Aid's chief policy adviser, Alex Cobham, commented: "We have every sympathy for those in the UK who will be hit by the spending cuts announced by the Chancellor today.
"However, the money pledged to international development will make the difference between life and death to some of the poorest people on earth. It would have been easy to forget their plight amid the shock waves caused by the comprehensive spending review.
"But despite the difficulties the UK faces, it remains one of the richest countries in the world. It is therefore beholden on us to meet our moral responsibilities to men and women in countries less fortunate. The Government deserves credit for doing this."
Christian Aid warned, however, that the money must first and foremost go towards the goal of poverty eradication where it is needed most, rather than countries that present a security concern.
The international development agency added that it was vital that staffing levels at the Department for International Development remained robust enough to administer the aid budget properly.
Following the Chancellor’s speech, more than 2,000 Christian Aid supporters went to Parliament to lobby their MPs in support of the protection of the aid budget, while demanding further action against climate change and offshore tax abuses that are so damaging to poor countries.
At a rally earlier in Central Hall, Westminster, they were told by veteran US civil rights campaigner the Rev Jesse Jackson: "Jesus told us it this way: we are measured by how we treat the least of these, if we feed the hungry, if we fight for the homeless, defend the poor and the leper. Don’t let these challenges break your spirit."