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UK Aid

2020 and now 2021 will prove themselves to be crucial years for aid.
The impact of the Covid pandemic and resultant lockdowns has been enormous,
resulting in a huge economic downturn throwing more people into poverty and
decimating our Sustainable Development Goal targets.

The UK government, not only a member of the Security Council but currently pen holder as well, has been considered as a leader in the field on aid. It is one of the few countries who have committed 0.7 of its GDP to provide aid as requested by the United Nations.
For many this pledge is seen as a moral obligation to support the weakest
but sadly the story is not straight forward.

With the 2020 pandemic came a cutting of aid anyway as a result of the sudden decline in economic output. In November the government announced that it wished to cut the 2021 aid budget to 5% of GDP even though our commitment to 0.7% became law in 2015. And the government will not even wait for the John Bew Strategic Review which is due out this Spring 2021. This has sparked fury amongst cross party mps and we await the outcome of this rout. 0.7% of current GDP would be a poor outcome. O.5% will have drastic effect on those that need it. Our personal view is that a we should maintain the pre-pandemic level of expenditure.

On September 2nd, 2020 the government announced the scrapping of Dfid (Department for International Development) and the merging of this with the FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) to create the FCDO (Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office).
Although this is not the first time Dfid has been scrapped quite rightly it has produced huge consternation. it is felt that a specialist agency such as Dfid has the time, expertise and dedication to identify need and that by merging the two departments aid will be subservient to national interest
- a continuation of a worrying trend.

In October 2020 the government announced it would seek to abolish the International Development Committee which is a cross- party select committee of mps. This committee’s crucial role is to scrutinise aid spending. As a result of intensive lobbying including
by this UNA working group that decision was revoked.
Please go to the heading ‘Who monitors aid’ for more details.