Government officials defend plans to slash UK’s spending on foreign aid

Nigel Farage praises decision to cut foreign aid to China

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The Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO) said the “tough but necessary” decision was made due to the financial impact of the pandemic. It said Britain would still fork out more than £10billion a year to help the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people.

The Government announced last year it would cut UK aid from 0.7 percent of national income to just 0.5 percent – a reduction of more than £4billion.

A leaked document prepared for FCDO minister Wendy Morton said: “We expect criticism on the reduction in spend, particularly as the UK public views water, sanitation and hygiene (Wash) as a priority area for UK aid.”

While the overall Wash budget will be cut by 64 percent in 2021-22 compared to 2019, bilateral aid funding for clean water will be reduced by 80 percent.

Tim Wainwright, chief executive of the WaterAid charity, said: “There is never a good time to cut aid for lifesaving water and sanitation but the middle of the worst pandemic for 100 years must be one of the worst.”

An FCDO spokesman said: “The seismic impact of the pandemic on the UK economy has forced us to take tough but necessary decisions, including temporarily reducing the overall amount we spend on aid.

“We will still spend more than £10billion this year.”

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