Dr Neil Hudson, MP for Penrith and The Border, voted against the government this afternoon as they declined to keep their manifesto promise to keep the commitment of 0.7% of Gross National Income on International Aid.
The government has said that they will reinstate the 0.7% when the fiscal situation allows but Dr Hudson believes that we must do this sooner (January 2022) as the government are going back on a key manifesto pledge and therefore disadvantaging the world’s poorest people. The government’s motion passed, meaning that the 0.7% will only return once the Chancellor’s economic tests are met.
Speaking after the vote Dr Hudson said:
“I am gutted by the result of this vote on international aid. I understand the government’s position that because we are recovering from a global pandemic that we have to tighten the fiscal belt, but their approach is not one that I agree with. I believe it is even more important that when the world is struggling and ravaged by the pandemic, that we keep supporting those who are in need. All over the developing world people rely on UK health, climate-resistance or food-nutrition programmes and we have a moral duty to carry these through and not move the goalposts. Fundamentally this delay in reinstating 0.7% will mean more children going hungry, young boys and girls missing out on a good education and many people will sadly die as they are not able to receive the healthcare and support they need.
It is important that the UK maintains an internationalist approach to overseas aid, stepping in when we see problems across the developing world. The government has said that it does want to restore our commitment to 0.7% but its actions need to speak louder than its words and it should change tack immediately and not at some unspecified time in the future.
Although I and colleagues from across the House failed to convince the government today, I will not stop lobbying the government, in public and in private, for our commitment to the world’s poorest to be honoured in full and as soon as possible.”