Reaction to a vote in the House of Commons on cutting the 0.7% commitment to the Overseas Development Aid budget

Overseas Development Aid saves lives. It is a commitment and a responsibility we must never back away from. That is why today’s vote is a devastating blow to the world’s poorest and a confirmation that the UK Government doesn’t keep its promises.

The Chancellor has said the aid budget would return to 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI), if the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecast: i) the current deficit (borrowing for day-to-day spend) will fall below zero, and, ii) debt as a share of GDP will fall. Conditions would only have been met once in the last 20 years. The arbitrarily high bar set by Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak MP, means that this is an indefinite cut to our global solidarity budget.

After centuries of benefitting from the extraction of wealth through colonisation, from carbon-intensive and nature-wrecking development, it is incumbent on high-income countries like ours to shoulder our responsibility, so we are all able to achieve a sustainable and just future.

Wales has a tradition of global solidarity that it should be proud of. Leading Welsh charity Interburns is just one example of the life-saving work that the UK’s aid budget supports where, through its work with partners, has demonstrated tangible and measurable improvements across all supported burns services in low and middle-income countries.

Wales and the UK are proud of the life-saving work this money is used for. In 2015, the then UK Coalition Government enacted into law the commitment to allocate 0.7% of GNI to overseas development aid.

“We will proudly maintain our commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of GNI on development, and do more to help countries receiving aid become self-sufficient” – that is what the UK government promised to the people only 19 months ago. Today, that proud promise is broken.

This year in the thick of a global pandemic and a climate emergency,  the UK Government is hosting both the G7 and COP26 summits. They should have taken this opportunity to demonstrate global leadership by stepping forward and committing to overseas development aid, ensuring the world’s poorest and future generations are able to achieve.

Claire O’Shea, Chair of the Wales Overseas Agencies Group (WOAG) said:

“The impossible rules set out by the Chancellor mean that this cut to vital Overseas Development Aid is effectively indefinite and permanent. It is an abrogation of ‘Global Britain’ and morally reprehensible.

“The short term impact on lives will be devastating. A few months ago, we asked for a clear roadmap back to our 0.7% commitment. This is not a roadmap, but a fool’s errand. A fait accompli that demotes ‘Global Britain’ to Little Britain’.

“We call on the UK Government to reverse this cut immediately.”

Notes to the editor

  • For interviews in Welsh or English, please contact:

Peter Frederick Gilbey, Communications Manager, Hub Cymru Africa
petergilbey@hubcymruafrica.org.uk | 07495 008 927

  • Overseas Agencies Group on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/woagwales

  • Chair of WOAG, Claire O’Shea on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/closhea

  • Members of the Overseas Agencies Group:
    • Cafod
    • Christian Aid
    • DEC Cymru
    • Disability in Wales & Africa
    • Oxfam Cymru
    • Red Cross
    • Save the Children
    • Size of Wales
    • Tearfund
    • UP
    • Wales Centre for International Affairs
    • Hub Cymru Africa