Wealthy nations must meet their responsibilities.
In 2020, the UK Government cut the proportion of national income spent on aid. In 2019 the aid budget was $15bn and in 2022, just over £12bn. The government’s decision to use the overseas aid budget to pay for costs associated with housing asylum seekers and refugees within the UK also means that an even smaller sum is available for critial work in low income countries.
Following significant cuts to the budgets intended to support girls’ education and reproductive rights (family planning), the government has announced a return to 2019 levels of funding.
Welcome as this is, it will largely be paid for by switching funding to this work, leaving other critical programmes underfunded. Critically, the total amount of aid given to the 45 Least Developed Countries (as identified by the United Nations) missed the government’s own target by £3.7bn in 2022.
protect the most vulnerable
Overseas aid addresses the profound challenges faced by people as a result of environmental and resource challenges, unfair and exploitative economic forces, wars, bad government, colonial legacies and poverty – none of which are their fault. It offers an opportunity for people to lead lives of dignity and security, makes people more resilient to climate change and reduces pressure to emigrate.
While help to women and girls is the most effective route to bringing population growth down, tackling poverty and promoting sustainable development also makes people more likely to choose, and to be free to choose, a smaller family. Ending population growth improves people’s health, freedom and economic development, and protects the environment.
As a member of the G7 group, the UK is one of the world’s richest countries. Long one of the world’s biggest donors, it currently does not expect to restore aid to the previous target of 0.7% of national income until 2027 at the earliest. The world’s most vulnerable people cannot wait that long.
Please urge the UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to increase aid and press for the restoration to previous levels in the next budget.
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