CARE International UK statement on parliamentary vote to cut UK Aid

London, UK: 13 July 2021 - Following the result of this afternoon's Parliamentary vote to cut the UK Aid budget from 0.7 per cent of GDP to 0.5 per cent - a cut of £4 billion - Laurie Lee, CEO of CARE International UK said: 

“It’s extremely disappointing to see the UK government try to abandon its commitments to the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world, during this time of global crisis. Of course, we understand that this motion doesn’t overturn primary legislation, but UK Aid cuts are already having a terrible impact on the lives of girls and boys, women and men around the world and today’s decision will offer them no hope. Many of them will not live to see the reinstatement of 0.7 per cent in years – or decades, if it is ever reinstated. 

Because of the cuts, between 2019-2022, an estimated 20 million women and girls won’t be reached by programming, this includes: 700,000 fewer girls supported by girl’s education programmes, 2 million fewer women supported by humanitarian assistance, 8 million fewer women and girls supported with nutrition, 9 million fewer women supported to access clean water and sanitation. The government has also cut funding for Girls education - the PM's "priority" – by 25 per cent. Even a temporary aid cut will harm millions of people – this move to try and extend the aid cuts for years to come will be devastating. What’s more, the UK Aid cuts are illegal and break the government’s election manifesto.  

Gender equality and women’s rights are both a goal and a means of achieving sustainable development. Investing in women and girls – in their education, health, social status and job opportunities, not only improves the outcomes for those more vulnerable and exposed to development and emergency risks but is also critical to the achievement of the SDGs. As it stands, the UK Aid cuts, and the way they are being implemented, will have wide-ranging and long-standing impacts on gender equality and women’s rights.  

UK international aid is vital for addressing climate change, tackling Covid-19 and empowering women and girls through education. In a year when the UK has hosted the G7 and is looking forward to hosting COP26, we will continue to urge the government to implement an ambitious agenda for achieving gender equality and women’s rights, one that must be matched with ambitious funding. We will continue to press to restore 0.7 per cent as soon as possible, and we’ll be working to ensure that the full aid budget is focused on the poorest people, particularly commitments to tackle global poverty and inequalities.” 

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