The UK Government’s decision to abandon the 0.7% aid commitment has been condemned by Practical Action CEO Paul Smith-Lomas.
The budget cut will mean there is approximately £5bn less spent on poverty eradication at a time when the economic fall-out of Coronavirus is causing more people to suffer huge economic hardship as a result of breakdowns in supply chains, markets and the inability to travel for work.
In a letter published in the Guardian, Paul was one of dozens of CEOs who laid out the consequences of such a cut to efforts to adapt to climate change and recover sustainably from the pandemic.
In recent years, money from the UK Aid budget has enabled Practical Action help thousands of families in Africa and South Asia take back control of their lives in the face of devastating drought, flooding and changes to traditional weather patterns.
Paul said: This is a double blow for the world’s most marginalised people. Millions are being pushed into poverty due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and now they face further aid cuts as a result of the UK abandoning the 0.7% aid commitment.
“Our 0.7% aid commitment has been one of the few things that has united parliament because MPs have understood that helping others, as well as our own, is morally, economically and politically the right thing to do if we are to tackle climate change, future pandemics or humanitarian crisis.
“2021 should have been the year that re-established the UK as a global player, committed to climate change, poverty eradication, tackling disease and conflict as we host COP26 and the G7.
“Instead, today’s announced u-turn on a manifesto commitment sees the UK turning its back on the world’s poorest despite knowing that no one is safe from this or future pandemics unless we are all safe.”
To interview Paul, or find out how Practical Action has used UK Aid money to help thousands of people take control of their lives and their futures around the world, contact Andrew Heath on 07800 884267 or email [email protected]