From polio and malaria vaccines, to clean water and support after disasters, UK foreign aid continues to save lives around the world. However, MPs voted this week to slash this budget – putting countless lives at risk in the midst of a global pandemic.
Last year, the government announced it will be cutting the UK’s foreign aid budget from 0.7 per cent to 0.5 per cent of national income. Tearfund joined with other charities to speak out against this – highlighting how devastating the cut will be for the world’s poorest people.
Due to pressure from charities and politicians across the political spectrum, the government was forced to hold a vote on this. Unfortunately, the vote was won by a slim majority.
What happens now?
The UK government will now be implementing these cuts, which will see most of the UK’s foreign aid work dramatically reduced. This includes aid to Yemen, the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, as well cuts to projects improving access to clean water, even though this is vital to slowing the spread of coronavirus.
The UK government has also introduced strict new rules on when foreign aid can be restored to 0.7 per cent. These rules make it almost impossible for it to happen during this parliament – at least another three years.
The government was elected into power on a manifesto stating the UK’s commitment to keeping foreign aid at 0.7 per cent of its national income. This cut breaks this promise.
Turning our backs on our neighbours
The Bible does not define our neighbour by geography. In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus urges us to help out whoever is in need (Luke 10:2-27). Slashing the UK’s foreign aid budget means turning our back on our global neighbours who need our support more than ever.
Tearfund will continue to advocate for the world’s most vulnerable people and support them as they lift themselves out of poverty. Please continue to join us in prayer on this issue.