Matt Vickers, Conservative MP for Stockton South, supports Government plans to cut the foreign aid budget, saying that reversing cuts risk the Levelling Up Fund and that “charity must start at home”.
Over the past few days, some MPs have taken aim at the UK Government’s temporary cut to foreign aid from 0.7% of national income to 0.5% this year.
Last week, an amendment was tabled to the Advanced Research and Invention Agency Bill which would oblige any shortfall in aid spending to be made up if the government were to miss the 0.7% target.
The cut to foreign aid would constitute a saving of more than £4bn whilst the government’s ‘Levelling Up Fund’ currently stands at £4.8bn.
Mr Vickers said:
“The temporary cut to foreign aid is vital in the development of the Levelling Up agenda. This will generate desperately needed jobs, infrastructure and investment in left behind communities.
“After a pandemic that has devastated Britain, it is only right that British taxpayer’s money is used to help this country bounce back and aid some of our poorest and most vulnerable who have shouldered the brunt of hardship over the past year.
“Returning to pre-pandemic levels of foreign aid will disadvantage the most left behind parts of our country and puts the government’s popular policy of ‘Levelling Up’ at serious risk.
“The UK is already meeting its humanitarian obligations to less fortunate nations in this pandemic. We are the largest donor to the international vaccine organisation and have already committed half a billion pounds to rolling out the vaccine across the world.
“Whilst the UK must and will continue to meet its commitments abroad, charity must start at home.”