We committed in the integrated review refresh, published in March, to lead an 18-month campaign to improve global food security and nutrition, and to mitigate the risk of famine.
The devastating war in Ukraine and the destruction of its agricultural sector has sadly meant that, at the start of 2023, roughly one in three Ukrainian families were classified as food insecure. Whether we live in Blyth Valley or in Kyiv, food security is of the utmost importance. Will my right hon. Friend assure me his Department is doing all it can to ensure that Ukrainian families are getting the vital support they need, despite what is happening in their country?
I can give my hon. Friend that assurance. In November, Britain will host a major event in London focused on preventing children from starving to death, and on preventing malnutrition and food insecurity.
It is all good and well that the UK is hosting events, but the reality is that the amount of money it has to invest in food security is declining, because of cuts to the aid budget and now because of the Home Office’s use of official development assistance to house refugees. If the Home Office really wants people not to come here on small boats, perhaps it would be better to spend that money on famine relief and food security so that people do not flee their countries in the first place.
The hon. Gentleman is right to point to the importance of international development in tackling these problems upstream. He will have seen yesterday’s publication of the very sharp increase in bilateral aid, and he will also have noticed that I announced that we will spend £1 billion on humanitarian relief next year.