UK foreign aid cuts are immoral, says David Davis

UK foreign aid cuts are immoral, says David Davis.

Former Brexit secretary denounces plan and says 42% budget cut risks killing thousands of people.

The prime minister is facing a possible Commons defeat after cutting spending of national income on international development from 0.7% from 0.5%.

David Davis told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the UK was unique among the G7 in planning the 42% cut, and said it would kill thousands of people. He cited legal advice given to Tory backbenchers by Ken Macdonald in which he denounced the planned cuts.

“The government, if it wanted to do this, should have brought it to the House of Commons and said: ‘This is in our manifesto but the duress we’re facing now means we have to do this’ and so ask the house to approve it. It didn’t.

“The reason it didn’t was because the majority of the house doesn’t agree with it. That’s what we’re going see today if we get the vote. And I’m afraid that that’s frankly, in my judgment, a morally poor position for the government.”

Leon Neal/Getty Images

On Monday, the former prime minister Gordon Brown said now was not the time for the cuts.

He told BBC Breakfast: “It’s a life-and-death issue, we’re actually deciding who lives and who dies, particularly at this point where if we withdraw the money for vaccination it’s the equivalent of pulling away the needle from a kid or from an adult who is sick who needs the vaccination, a 90% cut, for example, in support for polio vaccination.”

He added: “We’re about to get a huge payment from the International Monetary Fund of $23bn, that covers this cut six times over, so it makes absolutely no economic sense. But particularly no moral sense. And it’s in our self-interest, of course, to see the others vaccinated because nobody is safe until everybody is safe.”

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