Britain plans to drastically reduce aid to some of the world’s most war-torn countries, a leaked document shows.
Help for Syria will be cut by 67%, aid to Libya by 63%, Somalia by 60% and South Sudan by 59%, according to a Foreign Office report obtained by the openDemocracy website.
Labor said the reported cuts would “cause devastation” to some of the world the most vulnerable people.
Preet Kaur Gill, shadow secretary for international development, said: “This is a devastating reminder of the real-world impact of a politically motivated government decision to abandon the manifesto’s commitment to the assistance it will inflict on the world’s most vulnerable people.”
“Cutting support to countries amid multiple humanitarian crises will lead to devastation, leaving some of the world’s most vulnerable people starving, a stretched health care system collapsing and access to clean water being stripped of it,” he said.
Gill also warned that “people will die” because of cutting aid.
“A heartless cut like this signals a retreat from the world stage and will make all of us less secure. This is not global Britain,” he added.
A government spokesman said further decisions on individual assistance programs had yet to be made.
“The seismic impact of the pandemic on the UK economy has forced us to make difficult but necessary decisions, including temporarily reducing the total amount we spend on aid,” the spokesman said.
“We remain the world’s leading aid donor, and we will spend more than 10 billion pounds ($ 13.8 billion) this year fighting poverty, tackling climate change and improving global health.”
The economic damage caused by the pandemic has led the government to set aside its manifesto commitment to spend 0.7% of national income on foreign aid, cutting it down to 0.5%.
Documents obtained by openDemocracy show the total bilateral humanitarian assistance program will be cut from £ 1.5 billion to £ 900 million, the Times reported.
The leak came as more than a hundred British charities condemned the government’s decision to cut aid to Yemen.
Britain has pledged at least £ 87 million in aid, down from pledges of 160 million in 2020 and 200 million in 2019.
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