World News – UK – UK aid cuts « unprincipled, unjustified and harmful, » experts and MPs say


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Cuts announced by Rishi Sunak will hit girls and women hardest in the poorest countries, with charities predicting hundreds of thousands of deaths

With the cuts in British aid announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, one million girls could lose school, almost three million women and children forego life-saving nutrition and 5. 6 million children were not vaccinated, resulting in « tens of thousands » deaths, said charities, aid experts and MPs.

You described the turning point in the financing of foreign aid from 0. 7% to 0. 5% of UK gross national income as « unprincipled, unjustified and harmful », just as a global health crisis is undoing decades of advances in poverty, health care and education.

In April, the UN Food Agency warned of « biblical proportions » starvation in 2021 with no billions in aid, and in August the UN Children’s Agency reported that an estimated 500 million children had no access to learning due to coronavirus.

Jean-Michel Grand, General Manager of Action Against Hunger, said: “We estimate that these cuts could cause up to 3 million women and children to lose access to often life-saving nutrition services. Clinics will be closed, nurses will lose their jobs, and children will lose their lives. ”

He said: “With the World Food Program warning of biblical famine in 2021, it is not time to turn our backs on those in need. The world is crying out for global leadership and that decision sends the message that Britain doesn’t want the job. Is that what a leading global UK should look like?

This week, MPs from seven parties urged the government not to cut foreign aid as it would mean the difference between life and death for countless people.

Andrew Mitchell, a former Conservative international development secretary, described the cuts as « absolutely outrageous » and said that if applied across the board, they could result in 1 million girls dropping out of school and 7. 6 million fewer women and girls have access to family planning and contraception.

“Up to 5. 6 million fewer children are not vaccinated, leading to up to 100. 000 deaths, « said Mitchell. Another 3. 8 million people could lose access to clean water. Research has shown that family planning can prevent maternal death.

Kevin Watkins, executive director of Save the Children, said the chancellor’s announcement was « unprincipled, unjustified and deeply damaging to the UK’s reputation, and especially to millions of people around the world. « .

“You are making these cuts against a backdrop of unprecedented reversals in child health, child survival, child malnutrition, and education. Help is a lifeline in helping children around the world, ”he said.

Andrew Shepherd of the Overseas Development Institute’s (ODI) Chronic Poverty Advisory Network warned that the announcement would likely hit aid budgets from multiple directions.

« One point is that in addition to the general aid program, there will be significant debt relief required in the coming period. But debt relief is now seen as part of overseas development aid starting this year, putting pressure on other aid. ”

Combined with falling gross national income on which the calculation is based, a percentage cut will result in a « very significant » and « very painful » cut in the carefully crafted UK aid program, he said.

“There are many effects being felt in middle income countries during the pandemic. But the UK, like other countries, has become more focused on low-income countries, pulling out of some middle-income countries like India, where the effects of Covid on impoverishment are being felt. ”

It could also lead to some of the « less tangible but useful programs » falling by the wayside.

It is unclear how the cuts will fall or how long they will take. In the summer when the government confirmed that aid would be cut by £ 2. 9 billion, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said he would prioritize poverty reduction for the « bottom billion » as well as tackle climate change and biodiversity loss, advocate for girls’ education and lead Britain in the global response to Covid.

Sarah Champion, Chair of the International Development Committee, said, “The government needs to be quick to clarify the implications for existing projects. What are the criteria for the cuts; Will there be impact assessments? Is the sector or Parliament being consulted? “

The committee will meet in mid-December to examine the effects of reducing official aid commitments.

Katherine Nightingale, advocacy director for Care International, said there is a possibility of death.

« What I can tell from our experience with aid cuts over the past year is that even promises of ring fences don’t mean the world’s poorest won’t feel the effects. « . Just last week, the UN announced that seven countries were threatened with famine. In Yemen, 80% of the country’s population – over 24 million people – are in need of some form of humanitarian aid and protection. ”

« Without the details, it’s obviously difficult to know exactly where these cuts will affect. But we can already see where the gap is growing between the needs and the help that represent children who may not be getting the food or health care they need. ”

The World Bank has declared that, according to Covid, 150 million people are at risk of extreme poverty.

Girish Menon, Head of ActionAid UK, said he was alarmed. “The reality is that tens of thousands of lives could be lost through these cuts. The cuts will be very noticeable by the poorest in the world, but will make little difference to the public sector as they are only zero. 2% of UK income. The UK government is not doing the right thing. ”

He added, “It is important that this cut in the aid budget is not long-term or permanent. Not only has the pandemic left millions of people unemployed, but it has also led to an increase in violence against women and girls around the world. ”

Marcus Manuel, an ODI researcher, estimated this to be £ 3. 7 billion foreign aid could pay 35 million children to attend school or 52 million people for health care.

Aid, United Kingdom, Rishi Sunak

World News – UK – British aid cuts « unprincipled, unjustified and harmful, » experts and MPs say


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