The chancellor defended the cuts in the foreign aid budget, telling Sky News: “This is about trying to focus on the priorities that the British people face at a time when they are facing enormous difficulties.”
Speaking to Kay Burley, Rishi Sunak said the COVID-19 pandemic meant he had to make “hard choices, aid among them.”
In his spending review, the advisor abandoned the Conservative Statement’s commitment to fund the foreign aid budget equivalent to 0.7% of GNI, instead. Chop it down to 0.5%.
The move sparked a backlash among Conservative MPs and outside the party as well.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said the decision was “shameful and wrong,” while former Prime Minister David Cameron said he “deeply regrets” the decision.
Baroness Soj, Minister at the State Department, To leave her turn In a demonstration.
Sunak said the government hopes to return to spending 0.7% of GDP on aid “when the financial situation permits.”
“But we will continue to spend 10 billion pounds on aid next year,” the chancellor said.
“If you look at that as a percentage of GDP of 0.5%, it would make us more generous than almost any other major economy and we would still be one of the most active countries in the world.”
“We are doing a lot and people have to hold their heads up about the role we are playing,” he added.
Regarding the broader state of public finances, Mr. Sunak acknowledged that the current levels of spending and borrowing caused by the Coronavirus cannot be sustained in the long term.
In response to a question whether it is possible to raise taxes in the future to put financial matters back on track, the chancellor replied: “Now is not the time to make these decisions because we are dealing with a lot of uncertainty.”