The Government is planning to slash the amount of money we spend on foreign aid, according to reports.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is facing some tough decisions amid a financial burden amid the Covid-19 crisis.

And reports in The Sun claim major cuts to the foreign aid budget will be used to help soften the economic blow.

However, the Government has already come in for criticism amid claims it is trying to “balance the books on the backs of the poorest”.

The UK presently spends around £15 billion a year to help the poorest nations in the world.

That cost has previously come under attack from the likes of Nigel Farage.

There has been a legal commitment to spend 0.7% of GDP on such projects for more than a decade, but Treasury insiders claimed some money could be diverted to fund Foreign Office and Ministry of Defence projects, as well as investing in the charities sector.

The change would require the backing of MPs through primary legislation – but could face a rebellion, as angry MPs said it showed “callous Tories” were turning a “blind eye” to the fate of the world’s poorest.

It comes as the Department for International Development (DfID) – which looks after foreign aid – was due to be merged into the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) this week.

Ex-Tory International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell told the Mirror: “With the ink hardly dry on our manifesto, I don’t think the House of Commons would easily agree to balance the books on the backs of the poorest women and children in the world.”

Labour’s Sarah Champion, chair of the Commons International Development Committee, tweeted: “Evidence this Tory Government wanted to take money from the very poorest in the world.

“Don’t be fooled this money will come to the UKs poor, it never does.

“So much for PMs promise not to touch 0.7% Aid spend.”

Liberal Democrat International Development spokesperson Wendy Chamberlain said: “For too many vulnerable people in need around the world, UK international aid has made the difference between life and death.

“Despite previous assurances, the mask has now slipped and we can see the callous Tories for who they really are.

“By scraping foreign aid, the Government is abandoning the world stage and turning a blind eye to the crippling poverty children face around the world.”

The foreign aid spending commitment was brought in by David Cameron but it is controversial among Tory MPs.

The Treasury has been contacted for comment by our sister title, The Mirror.





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