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Tories Vote To Slash Foreign Aid - Depriving Millions Of Overseas Poor

July 15, 2021 10:43 AM
Originally published by Chelmsford Liberal Democrats

Tory Aid Cuts ()Conservative MPs - including Children's Minister and Chelmsford MP Vicky Ford - have broken their 2019 manifesto pledge by voting to cut overseas aid from 0.7% to 0.5% of national income. Former Conservative Prime Minister John Major criticised the decision, saying, "The Government has blatantly broken its word, and should be ashamed of its decision."

The impact of this will be profound. Not only does it risk damage to Britain's reputation as a committed and globally responsible country (we are the only G20 country to cut overseas aid) but, more importantly, it will directly, drastically and adversely affect 1.7 billion of the world's poorest people (of which 1.1 billion are in the Commonwealth).

Overseas aid has the power to transform millions of lives; it includes short term/emergency aid for disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis and flooding and long term/development aid for education and skills development.

Food, military equipment, medical equipment and people to provide training and medical help are all examples of overseas aid given to help the most stricken and impoverished countries, with the vast majority of aid going to African and Asian countries.

Reducing our contribution so drastically will - literally - take food away from starving people (much in the same vein as the Tory decision not to extend free school meals during half term and holidays, a move also supported by Vicky Ford) and will hit women and girls hardest.

The projects facing the deepest cuts are the very foundations of public health - particularly during a pandemic. Money towards Water and Sanitation projects will be slashed from £150m to £30m. Neglected Tropical Disease projects (such as trachoma - an excruciatingly painful condition often leading to blindness, intestinal worms - a major cause of malnutrition in children and elephantiasis - a debilitating condition leading to swelling of the legs) will see funding severed from £167m to £17m and Family Planning projects see their contribution sliced from £155m to £23m.

Vicky Ford is out of step with Chelmsford Residents

This apparent indifference to those whose needs are greatest seems to fly in the face of what is happening in Chelmsford. For example, the number of people who volunteered to help the Chelmsford Community Response Hub during the Covid pandemic was so fantastic that Chelmsford CVS were able to offer help in other areas. Local schools participate in World Challenge initiatives to fund and help overseas projects. Religious groups support many overseas charities. These examples show that Chelmsford residents care about others - both at home and abroad.

It is appalling that Vicky Ford is so out of step with the feelings of her constituents that she voted to uphold the government's cuts in international aid. She has not only broken a commitment that she stood on in the last general election but, once again, has deprived the poorest of people.

The Liberal Democrats will continue to fight for Britain to meet the 0.7% aid commitment to the world's poorest.