UK charities vow to continue challenging UK aid cuts

UK charities vow to continue challenging UK aid cuts despite setbacks
2 min read
11 June, 2021
Multiple UK charities told The New Arab they will continue challenging the government's aid cuts to ensure the UK plays a leading role in global development.
UK Aid to Yemen will be cut by nearly 60% [Getty}

Leading UK charities have vowed to continue challenging the government's proposed international aid cuts despite recent setbacks. 

Charities, including Oxfam and Save The Children, said to The New Arab they will not stop campaigning for the government to reinstate 0.7 percent spending on overseas development despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s refusal to reverse the cuts or even table a debate in parliament. 

Ahead of the G7 Summit over the weekend, representatives from the charities said withdrawing development funding undermines the UK’s role as a global leader and puts many lives at risk. 

"It’s impossible for us to speak out about this because children will die," said Alison Stiby-Harris, head of public affairs at Save The Children. 

"The impact is so severe," she added. "Aid to Yemen will be cut by around 60%, in a country where 93% of children need humanitarian assistance to keep them alive... This sends out a terrible message about global leadership."

Sam Nadel, head of policy and advocacy at Oxfam, to The New Arab, said the cuts are "undermining the UK’s credibility."

The government's argument about "balancing the budget is disingenuous," he added. "They increased the defence budget at the same time they announced the aid cuts.” 

However, he believes “this is not the end" of the rebellion. “This is the beginning." 

Nadel said there was a "reactive group of MPs" who are against them. 

On Monday, the efforts of a cross-party group of MPs against the aid cuts were thwarted when their proposed amendment was deemed “out of scope” by the House of Commons Speaker. The rebels are considering a judicial review to overturn the government's budget changes. 

Dela Anderson, campaigns and communications officer at Results UK, charity committed to ending poverty, said to The New Arab: "Let’s bin the narrative that the UK is 'giving people aid', ‘charity’ or even food, and more towards something bolder: [Overseas Development Assistance] is one part of the puzzle of achieving global justice. 

"At its best, ODA is supporting experts in their own countries to build sustainable health, education and economic systems that work for them."