With mounting debt rising due to the coronavirus pandemic, UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak has to find money to help pay the debt burden. Mr Sunak has wanted to cut the foreign aid budget and divert the funds to pay down UK debt.
Mr Sunak has been put under pressure to stay away from the foreign aid budget, former UK PM’s Tony Blair and David Cameron have joined forces and sent a joint letter to Mr Sunak saying such a move would undermine his presidency of the G7.
Tony Blair said the foreign aid money had been a “great British soft power”, Its saved countless lives in poverty-stricken countries like Africa. Cutting the budget would be a “profound strategic mistake”.
Previously the foreign aid budget has gone to helping the World richest countries like China and India. The 0.7 percent of the UK economy’s GDP is said to be a legal commitment set by Cameron’s government.
Tony Blair told the Daily Telegraph: “Over the past 20 years, the British commitment to 0.7 per cent has helped cut deaths from malaria, HIV and others on the continent of Africa, measured literally in millions; raised life expectancy dramatically; educated better many millions more children; created stability and assisted development which has seen investment and living standards rise to levels not experienced before.
“This has been a great British soft power achievement. It’s enlightened self-interest.
“Neither the challenge of climate or COVID-19 can be met without Africa. Nor can those of extremism and uncontrolled immigration. To change, it is a profound strategic mistake.”
Next week Chancellor Sunak is said to be axing the foreign aid budget to 0.5% of GDP from 0.7%. Mr Cameron, in protest to the cut, said: “Moral, because we should be keeping our promises to the world’s poorest. A strategic error, because we would be signalling a retreat from one of the UK’s vital acts of global leadership. “Abandoning the 0.7 target for aid would be a moral, strategic and political mistake.
“Moral, because we should be keeping our promises to the world’s poorest. A strategic error, because we would be signalling a retreat from one of the UK’s vital acts of global leadership.
“And a political mistake because the UK is about to chair the G7 and important climate change negotiations. I hope the PM will stick to his clear manifesto promise, maintain UK leadership and save lives.”
The joint letter from the previous UK PM’S said:” Now is not the time to renege on our promise to spend 0.7% of our gross national income on aid and development.”
“Stepping back from our international commitments is not the solution and risks damaging the UK’s standing globally as we define our role in the world post-Brexit.
“A U-turn on your manifesto commitment to maintain the 0.7 percent target would signal we are a nation willing to balance its books on the backs of the world’s most marginalised people, many of whom are dealing with the impact of COVID-19 on top of existing hardship.”
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