Dominic Raab slashes China foreign aid budget by massive 95% – UK pledges less than £1m

Tobias Ellwood warns of ‘message’ sent by cuts to foreign aid

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The announcement was made by the Foreign Secretary after the UK said it was calling back its aid budget in light of the pandemic. Britain is committed by law to spending 0.7 percent of GDP on international aid, but announced last year it would be lowering the amount to 0.5 percent to claw back historic spending levels following the coronavirus crisis.

The Government expects just under £10billion to be allocated to departments for aid spending in 2021/22

Mr Raab outlined which areas the Government intended to cut support for in order to make up for the large budget drop.

He explained how £8.11billion of the aid budget will be allocated by the Foreign Office – approximately 80 percent of the total UK spend – including £906million for humanitarian preparedness and response.

Work involving that money will focus on countries most affected by risk of famine, including Yemen, Syria, Somalia and South Sudan.

He said he “strived to ensure that every penny of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office’s Official Development Assistance spend brings maximum strategic coherence, impact and value for taxpayers’ money”.

Mr Raab added: “We will focus on core HMG priorities for poverty reduction, including getting more girls into school, providing urgent humanitarian support to those who need it most, and tackling global threats like climate change, Covid recovery and other international health priorities.”

The £900,000 which will still go to China will help fund programmes to improve human rights.

The Foreign Secretary said some additional funding would be sent to Beijing in 2021 as a result of contractual costs for pulling out of previous programmes.

The cuts were welcomed by the TaxPayers’ Alliance.

Media campaign manager Danielle Boxall said: “Slashing foreign aid to China is long overdue.

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“Previous projects, like helping the Chinese produce rice, saw wanton waste of taxpayers’ cash.

“This should be a stepping stone to a proper and permanent cut in the ostentatious overseas aid budget.”

However, ministers have faced criticism for cutting the aid budget from MPs.

The Government are eager to avoid a vote in the Commons on the cuts, with fears Tory rebels would side with the Opposition to defeat the proposals.

Following Mr Raab’s statement, the chair of the International Development Committee, Sarah Champion, criticised the announcement.

She said: “With our economy set to rebound sharply this year, the logic for the cuts to the world’s poorest is making less sense as time goes on.

The Labour MP for Rotherham also said the committee “condemn in the strongest possible terms the magnitude of the aid cuts”.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged to return to spending 0.7 percent of GDP on international aid as soon as the economic situation allows.

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