Labour calls on the Government to put their cut to foreign aid to a parliamentary vote
Labour has today called on the Government to put their decision to cut the aid budget to a parliamentary vote at the earliest opportunity.
In November the Government committed to bringing forward legislation regarding their decision to cut the aid budget. They have since rowed back on that commitment.
Last week the Government published its overarching areas of focus for UK aid in 2021.
Preet Kaur Gill MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for International Development, in response to the Urgent Question today to the Minister for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, said:
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Last week the Foreign Secretary exposed his fear of scrutiny by trying to sneak out a written statement on his callous aid cuts
Today, having been forced to come to face up to his decisions by the right honourable member for Sutton Coldfield, he has once again evaded scrutiny and hidden behind one of his ministers instead.
Make no mistake, slashing humanitarian support in the middle of a global pandemic is callous and incredibly short-sighted.
People will lose their lives as a result of the cuts and we will all be less safe.
As the only G7 nation to cut aid, it is a retreat from our moral duty and will weaken our position on the world stage.
The statement last week was light on detail so can the minster tell us whether ambassadors have been informed of their allocated budgets and the date when all FCDO country office budgets for 2021 will be made public?
Can he tell us whether impact assessments for each country will be conducted and when they will be forthcoming?
Can he explain the Foreign Secretary’s comments that “no one is going hungry because we haven’t signed cheques” given that 16-million Yemenis and 12 million Syrian people are on the brink of famine and how he thinks the respective 60 per cent and 30 per cent cuts in aid will impact on people in those countries?
The impact of the cuts on his government’s own stated priorities are stark:
From education which has been cut by 40 per cent.
To health programmes like the IRC’s ‘Saving Lives in Sierra Leone’ which has helped over three million people and now been cut by 60 per cent.
In a year when Britain will be hosting the G7 and COP26 this is a shameful act and part of a pattern of retreat from the world stage by this Conservative government
So, rather than continuing to treat parliament with contempt, will he commit to putting these cuts to a vote at the earliest opportunity?