Government escapes reinstating overseas aid funds

Tuesday 08th June 2021 10:44 EDT

The government narrowly escaped a backbench rebellion over foreign aid when the Speaker of the House of Commons refused “an amendment that could have forced ministers to reinstate the budget for overseas spending after it was cut by almost a third last year,” The Times reported. More than 30 Conservative backbenchers including Theresa May, former prime minister, had pledged to support an amendment to the Advanced Research and Innovation Agency bill led by Andrew Mitchell, former international development secretary. “If selected by the speaker and backed by parliament, the amendment could have forced the government to reinstate spending 0.7 per cent of gross domestic product on foreign aid from 2022, by enabling the new agency to make up the estimated £4bn cut by the Treasury,” the report said. Rishi Sunak has announced the change last year and justified the cuts by the “unprecedented” economic impact of the pandemic, saying the UK would return to 0.7 spending as soon as the “fiscal situation” allowed.

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