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Anglican and Catholic Archbishops accuse UK Government of “broken promise”

Posted on: April 9, 2021 5:35 PM
The UK’s Royal Air Force delivered tents to Mozambique in March 2019 to provide emergency shelter for nearly 50,000 people who had lost their homes as a result of Cyclone Idai. The aid was part of the UK Government’s commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of GNP on overseas aid – a commitment which is now at risk.
Photo Credit: Rein Skullerud / World Food Programme

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols have described UK Government plans to cut international aid as “deeply worrying”.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, have described the UK Government’s plan to cut international aid as “deeply worrying” and a “broken promise”. They made their comments in a joint article for the London’s Evening Standard newspaper.

The article followed Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak’s announcement that aid spending will deliberately fall £4 billon GBP below the legally-binding target of 0.7 percent of national output. In addition to this cut, almost £3 billion more is being lost to aid because of the fall in GDP, which the target is linked to.

In their article, the Archbishops said: “In the small print of the recent integrated review of defence, diplomacy and development was a pledge to return the aid budget to 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income. This would honour the many promises made and deliver on the duty imposed by Parliament. But saying the Government will only do this ‘when the fiscal situation allows’ is deeply worrying, suggesting that it will act in contravention of its legally binding target. This promise, repeatedly made even during the pandemic, has been broken and must be put right.”

They said that the UK “must show leadership on the climate crisis and that requires leadership on international development”, and added: “keeping our promises to the world’s poorest people would be a good start. Balancing the books during a pandemic on the backs of the world’s poorest is not acceptable.

“The pandemic has reminded us that no one is safe until we are all safe. Our lives are connected. Of course, our traditions and scriptures have taught us this for centuries. We must not walk by on the other side, and love must prevail over fear when it comes to our global neighbours.”