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Volume 685: debated on Thursday 3 December 2020

Reversing Cuts to the Aid Budget

I rise to present a petition regarding cuts to the aid budget. I am sure, Mr Deputy Speaker, that you are an avid reader of The National newspaper and that you will have read the piece today by Alistair Dutton of the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund, who says:

“We have a moral duty and, currently, a legal obligation to help those in need.”

The petition states:

The petition of residents of the constituency of Glasgow East,

Declares that, although the COVID-19 pandemic has caused nations around the world to face tough challenges, both from a public health point of view and a financial point of view, it is absolutely vital that the pandemic does not lead the UK Government to forget the promises made to the public and its commitment to overseas aid; notes that in the Conservative 2019 general election manifesto, the aid budget remaining at 0.7% was a key promise; further declares that cutting the budget continues to break another promise by the Conservative party; further that the cut to the aid budget flies in the face of the UK Government’s promise of a Global Britain; further that this cut is another example of the UK Government’s path to becoming insular and isolated on the world stage; further that the cut in the aid budget will increase poverty and instability around the world, which will be increasingly devastating due to the COVID-19 pandemic; and further that the Government should urgently reverse this cut in the aid budget to avoid the devastating predicted impact.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Government to consider committing to retaining the aid budget at 0.7%, and not reducing it to 0.5% as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic spending cuts.

And the petitioners remain, etc.