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Chamber and committees

Motion ref. S6M-00426

UK Aid Cuts Will Contribute to Untold Global Suffering

Submitted by: Alex Rowley, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Labour.
Date lodged: Friday, June 18, 2021

Supported by: Jackie Baillie, Sarah Boyack, Foysol Choudhury, Katy Clark, Alex Cole-Hamilton, Kenneth Gibson, Ross Greer, Patrick Harvie, Bill Kidd, Fulton MacGregor, Rona Mackay, Ruth Maguire, Michael Marra, John Mason, Stuart McMillan, Pauline McNeill, Paul O'Kane, Colin Smyth, Paul Sweeney, Mercedes Villalba

That the Parliament condemns the reported decision of the UK Government to reduce the annual foreign aid budget from 0.7% to 0.5% of national income, resulting in a reported cut of almost £4 billion to lifesaving work against starvation, illness and child mortality; believes that this will see UK funding reduced by about 60% for UNICEF, by around 85% for the UN's family planning agency, by about 80% for UNAIDS, and that the World Health Organization's (WHO) Global Polio Eradication Initiative will lose nearly all its UK funding; understands that this move comes at a time when a number of other developed countries have proposed an increase in spending, including the United States and France; appreciates reported criticism of the cuts from within the Conservative Party, opposition MPs, the UN, the WHO and dozens of charities; notes the statement from the WHO, which says that the cuts would leave millions of the world's poorest people at risk of dying from so-called neglected tropical diseases that are preventable, but without treatment can kill, blind, disfigure and maim; understands that the WHO has stated that it is probable that 277 million tablets would expire and have to be incinerated due to the cuts from the UK aid budget; further understands that Yemen is one of the top recipients of UK bilateral aid and is currently facing one of the world's worst humanitarian disasters, yet, despite this, the UK's commitment to relief efforts for 2021 will be reduced by nearly £52 million compared with last year; is shocked that the UK Government has reportedly admitted that no assessment has been carried out of how “dire” the impact of the reported 60% cut in foreign aid to Yemen will be despite the warning from the UN that Yemen could be facing the worst famine in modern history, with more than 16 million Yemenis being “food insecure”, nearly 50,000 already facing famine-like conditions, and a further five million only one step away from the same conditions; recognises that the 0.7% of total or gross national income commitment to international aid is a UN-backed target, dating back to the 1970s and was enshrined into law in 2015; is appalled by the UK Government's reported decision to not commit to the target, and believes that its actions will directly contribute to untold global suffering at a time when all countries should be working together to eradicate that suffering.