Many of you have written to me about the government’s callous attempts to cut the overseas aid budget from 0.7% to 0.5%.
This would affect the lifesaving work of many Bristol West organisations. In March, I wrote to the Secretary of State to ask the government to reconsider this funding cut on behalf of constituents. Cutting overseas aid is unpopular with MPs of all parties – and if put to a vote, would probably be defeated. For this reason, the government has fought hard to avoid any kind of scrutiny.
Today Labour is bringing this question back to Parliament in the form of an Estimates Day debate. We will not vote against the motion at the end of the debate because this would be voting against all spending. However, the debate we bring will still keep the pressure on the government, particularly as so many government party MPs support our position, and expose the government’s short-sighted thinking.
This money could have paid for lifesaving healthcare, food aid and education. As one of the richest countries in the world, I believe we should be showing a positive example at this time of global crisis, and reinstating our international commitments to helping the world’s poorest people.