Aid Budget Reduction: Covid-19

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office – in the House of Commons on 15th June 2021.

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Photo of Alex Cunningham Alex Cunningham Shadow Minister (Justice)

What recent assessment he has made of the potential effect of reductions in the UK aid budget on tackling the covid-19 pandemic.

Photo of Wendy Morton Wendy Morton Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

[Inaudible]—is having on the world’s poorest countries. The FCDO is committed to the global effort to tackle the pandemic. We have made new public commitments worth up to £1.3 billion of ODA to counter the health, humanitarian and socioeconomic impacts of covid-19 and to support the global effort to distribute vaccines equitably, as well as adopting our programmes in 2020 amounting to more than £700 million. As we have heard, the Prime Minister announced at the G7 that the UK will donate 100 million vaccine doses within the next five years, with 5 million of those by the end of September, to ensure global vaccination by the end of 2022.[This section has been corrected on 28 June 2021, column 1MC — read correction]

Photo of Alex Cunningham Alex Cunningham Shadow Minister (Justice)

That is simply not good enough. With the failure of the Prime Minister to deliver a credible plan at the G7 for vaccinating the world compounding his savage cuts of 80% to clean water and sanitation programmes, which we all know are the best way of slowing the spread of covid-19, does the Minister agree that the scale and impact of these cuts on the lives and life chances of the poorest people in the world are devastating and that the pandemic will kill more people and actually last longer as a result?

Photo of Wendy Morton Wendy Morton Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

I am not sure whether the hon. Gentleman was following entirely all the announcements at the G7 at the weekend, because we announced that we will donate 100 million vaccine doses within the next year, with 5 million by the end of September. Our Prime Minister led the G7 to help commit to ensure global vaccination by the end of 2022 and also announced his plan to share 1 billion vaccine doses, and to expand vaccine manufacturing as well. When it comes to our ODA commitments, the UK is one of the largest donors to the international response, committing up to £1.3 billion of ODA since the beginning of the crisis, and our overall ODA budget remains at £10 billion, helping the world’s poorest.