Concern over reports government could slash aid

18 November 2020

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Responding to reports that the Government could cut the aid budget from 0.7% of gross national income to 0.5% next year, Girish Menon, CEO at ActionAid UK says: 

"Reports that the UK is considering a U-turn on its manifesto commitment and intentionally cutting the aid target to 0.5% of GNI next year are very concerning. Failing to meet the target in 2020 due to exceptional economic circumstances is one thing, but an express intention to diminish the aid budget in 2021 is another. The existing target already allows for flexibility in UK aid spending; when national income falls, so too does our aid budget.

“These reported cuts would be felt hugely by the world’s most marginalised communities - especially women and girls who have been disproportionately impacted by Covid-19. More than two-thirds of women work in the informal economy in developing countries and millions have been left without work. On top of this, the pandemic has caused a global surge in violence against women and girls, with a dramatic increase in calls to domestic abuse helplines. Women and girls must be supported to make their voices heard and lead the design and implementation of post-Covid 19 recovery plans.

"Slashing the aid budget would also be damaging for the new identity the UK is seeking to create after Brexit. With COP26 and the G7 due to be hosted by the UK next year, 2021 should be a year of UK-led global cooperation to tackle Covid-19, prevent gender-based violence and step up the fight against climate change. Now is not the time to turn our backs on those most in need.” 

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