The SNP is urging Boris Johnson to put his decision to slash the UK’s aid budget by over £4 billion to a parliamentary vote in the House of Commons before parliamentarians retire for the summer, or immediately U-turn the shameful decision.
The call comes following Dominic Rabb’s confirmation today that they will push ahead with cuts to neglected tropical diseases by over 90%.
Speaking in front of the Foreign Affairs Committee today, Mr Rabb announced that the UK government will slash its aid spend from £150 million to just £17 million, despite the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrating the interconnectedness of our world and the importance of health security prioritisation.
Former International Development Secretary, Conservative MP Andrew Mitchell, has suggested that this decision will lead to more than 100,000 avoidable deaths.
The United Nations’ World Health Organisation have also criticised the UK government’s decision, stating that the funding helps prevent “untold suffering to millions of people worldwide”.
SNP Foreign Affairs spokesperson Alyn Smith MP said:
‘The decision to slash the UK’s aid budget during a global pandemic is abhorrent and must be reversed immediately.
‘Families and communities across the world are facing challenges not witnessed in our lifetime, yet this Tory government believes now is the time to cut vital financial support to the world’s most deprived countries. It beggars belief.
‘Boris Johnson has numerous opportunities to reverse this decision following criticism from not only his own benches, but from around the world. However, it is clear he will not change his mind therefore it is imperative that the decision be put to a vote in the House of Commons in order to receive Parliamentary approval.
‘It is the UK government’s legal and moral obligation to support countries that are less fortunate than we are – by failing to reverse these cuts, they will break both of those.
‘Scotland is on a completely different trajectory to that of the UK. It is clear that only with the full powers of independence can we fulfil our potential in bringing a progressive and humanitarian approach to the global stage.’
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