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Cheshire MP defends government’s foreign aid cut

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Crewe and Nantwich MP, Dr Kieran Mullan has defended the government’s decision to temporarily reduce the UK’s aid budget from 0.7% to 0.5% of GDP (overall national income).

The reduction to the foreign aid budget was announced by the chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak in the Spending Review, who said: “at a time of unprecedented crisis, government must make tough choices.”

During questions to the foreign secretary, both Labour and some Conservative MPs were critical of the government’s decision to reduce the foreign aid budget by 0.2%.

The shadow minister for international development Preet Gill said that the reduction will leave the UK’s global reputation lying in tatters.

In a question to the foreign secretary, Dr Mullan said: “I deeply respect arguments against this decision, but will the foreign secretary agree that to describe the enormous amounts of taxpayers’ money we will continue to spend as “dismal”, “unforgivable” and some of the other things we have heard today actually damages public support for this cause in the long run.”

The foreign secretary said MPs “need to make sure that everything we do on our aid budget, development and our foreign policy abroad attracts and commands [our constituents] confidence.”

Outside the Chamber, Dr Mullan commented: “The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the UK economy which has meant this Government has had to make some difficult decisions.

“The language used by some MPs to describe even a reduced level of aid spending is an insult to the UK taxpayers paying for it.

“This reduction is not a betrayal, as some members would suggest. Even with this cut, we remain a world leading aid donor.

“I think for Labour and others to attack the government for doing what I think the public support in this way is disrespectful to the remaining generosity of the British public.”

The Crewe and Nantwich MP concluded: “Right now, it is reasonable to trim what we spend.”

 

 

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