Cash Splurge on Aid Delayed
Jeremy Hunt, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, has stated that Britain will not meet its spending targets for overseas aid for another five years. Billions of pounds that would have been allocated to foreign aid will instead be spent domestically, due to the country's financial strain caused by the pandemic.
Savings Made in 2021 Spending Review
In the 2021 spending review, Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor at the time, announced a reduction in overseas aid from 0.7 per cent to 0.5 per cent, resulting in savings of approximately £4 billion. This temporary measure was implemented to alleviate the impact of the pandemic on the country's finances.
No Provisions to Meet Target in Next Five Years
During a session with the Treasury Select Committee, Jeremy Hunt was questioned about the possibility of reaching the overseas aid target within the next five years. Hunt confirmed that the current fiscal position does not allow for it, but emphasized the commitment to doing so when it becomes financially feasible.
Backlash and Calls for Scrapping the Target
While serving as a backbench MP, Jeremy Hunt voiced his opposition to the cut in spending on aid. Various Whitehall sources stated that the timeline for reaching the target would depend on the economic recovery. John O'Connell, CEO of the TaxPayers' Alliance, suggested that ministers should consider eliminating the 0.7 per cent target and prioritize aid spending on genuine humanitarian emergencies.
Cameron's 0.7% GDP Commitment
Former Prime Minister David Cameron legally mandated that 0.7 per cent of GDP be allocated to overseas aid. He previously criticized the reduction to 0.5 per cent but now acknowledges the need for budgetary adjustments.
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