EKKLESIA has been active in supporting the growing lobby against the UK Government’s proposed aid cuts, which will be disastrous for some of the poorest people in the world and which will undermine global action on the pandemic.

We have pointed out that the Government is trying to re-define international development aid as “charity” and to claim it will “put us into debt”. They are wrong about this on both counts.

First, it is a pittance in terms of the UK’s debt, which needs to be addressed by strengthening the economy, not making the poor pay for the failings of the wealthy.

Second, development assistance itself is a tiny part of the reparation owed for wealth built on colonialism, slavery, unfair trade and labour exploitation. It is about justice – or ought to be. No one should be dependent on voluntary handouts from the rich.

Done well (which we agree, it often is not) aid builds mutuality and co-development. International development support needs reforming – though in the opposite way to the commercialisation which this Government favours – not slashing.

But the real change that’s needed is a fundamental shift in economic power  towards the poor, both within and across national boundaries.

Real charity is love, which demands justice and exceeds it. As Augustine once pointed out, charity is no substitute for justice denied.

Our friends at Global Justice Now are among those organising resistance to the UK Government’s aid cuts, both across all political parties and in the wider movement for justice and equality.

An excellent briefing leaflet from GJN is available here, to fill you in on the details of what is being proposed, what is with wrong with it, and how to act.