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UK aid budget should be protected

Hospital worker in PPE screens patient arriving at hospital by checking temperature
UK aid has helped develop palliative care services at Nkhoma Mission Hospital and helped their COVID-19 response

The UK government has announced that it will renege on an election manifesto pledge and cut aid spending from 0.7% to 0.5%. This move cuts support for some of the world’s poorest communities by almost a third while the global pandemic adds to burdens of poverty, conflict and a changing climate, and threatens us all.

Reacting to the announcement, EMMS International’s Chief Executive and Director of International Programmes, Dr. Cathy Ratcliff, said:

“The coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated the need for global solidarity time and time again. It has shown that our health and prosperity are inextricably linked with global neighbours near and far. This is no time for the UK to roll back its commitment to life-saving support to the world’s poorest countries.”

“The UK is not immune to the financial shock from the pandemic. However, there are other ways the government could meet budgetary challenges without abandoning its aid commitment.”

The existing aid commitment is set as a percentage of government income, meaning the budget is already reduced as a result of the current financial climate. However, in a year where extreme poverty is set to rise for the first time in two decades, the government has committed to breaking its legally binding commitment to 0.7% aid spending and abandoning its election manifesto pledge.

Dr. Cathy Ratcliff added:

“EMMS International - a small, grassroots Scottish international healthcare charity, working entirely from a small base in Edinburgh - is now on its third UK Aid Match appeal. Our first two UK Aid funded projects in Malawi were very successful and have brought access to healthcare, essential medicine and nutrition to 208,000 people.”

“We’ve seen the UK public rally round to support one another, and support the global response to the current pandemic. On 20 November 2020, EMMS International launched the “Every Girl Matters” appeal to improve access to healthcare in rural Nepal, lifting the burden of care from hundreds of young girls allowing them to return to school. Donations are being matched, pound for pound, by the UK government until 19 February 2021. This is another example of how the British public can be a positive force as we all seek to build back better. Now is not the time to scale back these efforts.”

“The UK is set to host key G7 and global climate talks in the year ahead. Reversing our commitments to the world’s poorest communities does not represent the leadership and commitment that these vital talks require.”


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