David Cameron said Boris Johnson's alleged plan to cut UK foreign aid spending by £ 5 billion was a "moral, strategic and political" mistake – while Tony Blair called the proposals a "serious strategic mistake".
The intervention of the two former Prime Ministers follows reports that Boris Johnson plans to cut the £ 15 billion international development budget to meet UK Covid-19 costs of £ 210 billion.
Britain currently sends 0.7 percent of its gross national income as foreign aid to help developing countries around the world.
But Chancellor Rishi Sunak should urge that the proportion of foreign aid be reduced to 0.5 percent – which corresponds to a saving of around 5 billion pounds.
David Cameron (left, during the National Service of Remembrance) said Boris Johnson's alleged plan to cut UK spending on foreign aid by £ 5 billion was a "moral, strategic and political" mistake – while Tony Blair (right) made the proposals deep strategic mistake labeled "a" & # 39;
The intervention of the two former Prime Ministers follows reports that Mr Johnson (pictured) planned to cut the UK's international development budget by £ 15 billion to increase the UK’s Covid-19 cost of £ 210 billion cover
In a joint statement published on the Daily Telegraph, Blair and Cameron said the 0.2 percent cut risks distancing the UK from President-elect Joe Biden ahead of the 2021 G7 summit – which the UK will chair.
Mr Cameron said, "Giving up the 0.7 (percent) target for aid would be a moral, strategic and political mistake."
He believes this could break the UK's humanitarian pledges, weaken the country's role as a world leader and hamper the UK's position at next year's G7 summit.
Mr Blair said changing the budget was a "serious strategic mistake" as the budget was "enlightened self-interest" rather than charity.
He said Africa – a recipient of UK aid – is a key strategic player in the global fight to fight coronavirus, fight climate change and fight extremism.
In 2005, Blair first promised Britain would meet its 0.7 percent foreign aid target.
In 2013 – under the direction of Mr. Cameron – the goal was achieved and two years later it became law.
In a joint statement published in the Daily Telegraph, Blair and Cameron said the 0.2 percent cut risks distancing the UK from President-elect Joe Biden (pictured) at the next G7 summit – which will be chaired by the UK will lead in 2021
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is said to be considering plans to cut the foreign aid budget temporarily
Chancellor Rishi Sunak allegedly wants to temporarily cut the UK's aid pledge from 0.7 percent of gross national income to 0.5 percent. Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has not dismissed any reports today that the government is considering the cut
Earlier this week, Mr Johnson announced his intention to cut the UK's foreign aid budget to support the country's domestic finances – as he agreed to pump billions more into the armed forces.
The aid program has been criticized in the past for some of the projects it supports, including allocating cash to protect psoriasis in China.
During the Prime Minister's questions on Wednesday, the Prime Minister videolinked and declined to reject reports on plans to lower Britain's commitment to 0.7 percent of national income on foreign aid to 0.5 percent in next week's spending review.
It came amid reports that he has overruled the Treasury Department and Rishi Sunak to negotiate a funding deal for the military, whose budget will be increased by £ 14.5 billion over the next four years.
Projects funded with UK cash include a campaign to save psoriasis in China, where the share of UK foreign aid has grown by millions of pounds in recent years
The Chancellor is set to present a coronavirus-flavored spending review next Wednesday, outlining the government's priorities to get the economy back on track.
In response to questions from the Prime Minister, Labor MP Anna McMorrin asked Mr Johnson to distance herself from reports of aid cuts and halt this withdrawal from the global stage.
But he replied, “I think everyone in this country can be very proud of the massive commitments this country has made and will continue to make in combating poverty and disadvantage around the world.
"I think they can be even more proud of the commitment we are now making to address the threat of climate change."
Community Secretary Robert Jenrick previously said it was "legitimate" to seek savings when public finances are "under tremendous strain".
Downing Street said the government remained committed to helping the world's poorest people, but admitted that officials were looking into how the aid budget was being spent.
The UK previously announced that it would cut its global aid budget by £ 2.9 billion this year due to the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis, but the 0.7 percent commitment to international development would still be met.
Official development aid spending was set at £ 15.8 billion this year before the Covid-19 crisis hit.
On Wednesday's questions from the Prime Minister, Mr Johnson was asked by Labor MP Anna McMorrin to distance herself from reports of aid cuts and stop this withdrawal from the global stage
According to The Times, Boris Johnson would like a cut in the 0.7 percent target – first adopted by the Tories under David Cameron as a signal for change in the party – to last no more than a year.
The UK's gross national income was £ 2.17 trillion in 2019, meaning a drop from 0.7 percent to 0.5 percent would be more than £ 4 billion.
The 0.7 percent target was first agreed by the United Nations in 1970, and the UK government has met the target since 2013. It was enshrined in law in 2015.
High-profile figures like Ben Wallace, the Secretary of Defense, have touted the need for a high-tech overhaul, including drones
In the meantime, more money will be pouring into military spending, the Times reported today.
It was alleged that Mr Johnson agreed to a four-year plan for the armed forces.
High-profile figures like Ben Wallace, the Secretary of Defense, have touted the need for a high-tech overhaul, including drones.
It was reported that as part of the spending review, Mr Sunak was aiming for a one-year defense deal worth £ 1.9 billion.
The review, paused in April when the coronavirus crisis hit the UK, will "define the government's ambitions for the UK's role in the world and long-term strategic goals for our national security and foreign policy".
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