‘Ditching EU tariffs offers billions for the poorest!’ Boris Johnson defended foreign aid. ’
On BBC Newsnight, Conservative MP George Freeman backed Boris Johnson over his decision to cut the UK aid budget.
A BBC Newsnight investigation into the UK Government’s overseas aid strategy has been halted by Tory MP George Freeman. Boris Johnson told Parliament on Tuesday that the UK would only return to 0.7 percent assistance spending once the economy had recovered from the Covid pandemic. Mr. Freeman defended the UK’s temporary cut in Official Development Assistance (ODA) expenditure by pointing to the areas where the UK continues to help the world’s poorest.
“The UK already commits considerably more on top of its ODA commitments,” Mr Freeman told BBC Newsnight.
“So there’s $400 million a year for peacekeeping that isn’t included in the ODA budget.
“In terms of diplomacy, we are the world’s third largest network.
“On tariffs, lowering the European Union’s 40% levies on food from Africa represents a £billion-a-year commitment to trade for the world’s poorest countries.”
“On WHO, we’re raising our spending by 30%,” he added.
“Through Gavi, we supported the export of approximately 1.3 billion vaccines around the world.
“We are the largest donor on Covax, with a half-million dollars.
“This is all outside of ODA; honestly, I wouldn’t vote for this if I thought we were becoming a little England party retreating from global challenges.”
It comes after Boris Johnson stated that once the British economy recovers from the pandemic, the government will increase overseas aid spending to 0.7 percent of GDP.
The Prime Minister told MPs in the House of Commons on Tuesday that the reduction in foreign aid funding would not be permanent, and that any changes would be subject to two “important tests.”
Mr Johnson has been warned that if he does not reverse his proposed cuts to foreign aid, he will risk a humiliating loss.
“I can assure any honorable member who tries to make the argument for aid that they are preaching to the converted when it comes to me or anyone in the Government,” Mr Johnson said in Parliament.
We’ll act on that confidence by reverting to 0.7 percent as soon as two key tests are passed.
“First and foremost, the United Kingdom no longer borrows for present or ongoing expenses.
“Second, public debt as a percentage of GDP is declining, excluding the Bank of England.”
Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s intentions. “Brinkwire News in Condensed Form.”