The Johnson government is facing growing dissent within its ranks over the proposed cuts to the UK’s spending on foreign aid. While the measure appears to be a rational response to the COVID-related economic slump, it also undermines the UK’s post-Brexit ‘Global Britain’ vision, British observers warn.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is “actively considering” allowing MPs to hold a binding vote on the £4 billion ($5.6 billion) cuts to the overseas aid budget amid brewing rebellion within the ranks of the British Conservatives, The Sunday Times suggested on 4 July.
However, The Telegraph reported on the same day that the premier would hold firm against rebelling Tories and deny them a vote, despite earlier suggestions that he could green-light the discussion before the summer recess of Parliament on 22 July.
In November 2020, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak signalled a reduction in the UK foreign aid budget from 0.7 percent to 0.5 percent of the country’s income due to the negative impact of the pandemic and COVID-related measures on the nation’s economy. If the government resorts to the cuts announced by Sunak, it would diminish the foreign aid budget from roughly £15 billion ($20.7 billion) to around £10 billion ($13.8 billion).
The commitment to donate 0.7% of the country’s gross national income to overseas development aid was initially made by the Tony Blair government and then enshrined into law in 2015 by the cabinet of David Cameron. Since then, both the…