Foreign aid: Richard Holden defends government cuts
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An emergency debate on UK foreign aid took place in the House of Commons on Tuesday. This was after the Speaker of the House of Commons Sir Lindsay Hoyle decided on Monday to rule out the rebel attempt to force a vote to reinstate the higher foreign aid budget. Although, Sir Lindsay did decide to greenlight an emergency three-hour debate that took place on Tuesday.
The substance of the amendment the rebel MPs wanted to impose was a reinstatement of the UK’s foreign aid budget to 0.7 percent of GDP from next year.
This would be up from Boris Johnson’s current reduced fund of 0.5 percent of GDP that he set out in the last Budget.
Mr Johnson said he went against his own election manifesto and reduced the amount of the UK’s foreign aid budget because of financial shortages caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Presenter of GB News Colin Brazier tweeted: “Two-thirds of Britons favour cutting our foreign aid budget, £71m of which goes to China.
“Anyone who thought MPs were out of touch with the electorate during the long years of Brexit parliamentary trench warfare might conclude they’re at it again.”
One Twitter follower agreed with Mr Brazier and said: “Britain seemingly loves to just burn money.
“China doesn’t need £71m from us, India recently spent $6 billion on new submarines for their navy as well.
“If these countries can’t spend their money to best suit its citizens why are we plugging their gaps.
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“Got enough of our own.”
Another said: “Brexit, a wake-up call for politicians and media.
“Then they went back to sleep, so still don’t hear what we the people, are saying.
“Either that or they simply don’t care and think they can carry on ignoring us.”
Former Prime Minister Theresa May is among the rebel Conservatives who have called on Mr Johnson to restore the UK’s commitment to 0.7 percent of GDP in foreign aid.
The UK is the only member of the G7 group of leading world economies to be currently cutting its foreign aid budget.
Mr Johnson’s policy has sparked fury as he is also calling on other G7 nations to vaccinate poorer countries against Covid-19.
Former UK International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell writing in the Guardian said: “The eyes of the world are truly upon us.
“But in this moment Britain is found wanting because we have removed a foundational piece of our own global leadership.
“Britain is the only G7 nation cutting aid this year.
“The cuts are already having a devastating effect on the ground, with projects being cancelled, clinics being closed, teachers being sacked.
“In crisis situations, these cuts will result in hundreds of thousands of preventable deaths.”
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