On Saturday, a leaked document revealed that the United Kingdom (UK) plans to cut aid to conflict-ridden countries including Libya, Syria, and Somalia by up to two-thirds.
According to a report obtained by the openDemocracy website, the UK’s Foreign Office will reduce aid to Libya by 63%, Syria by 67%, Somalia by 60% and South Sudan by 59%.
A Government spokesperson said the “seismic impact of the pandemic on the UK economy has forced us to take tough but necessary decisions,” and further decisions on individual aid programmes were still to be made.
Preet Kaur Gill, shadow International Development Secretary, said that, “this is a devastating reminder of the real-world impact the Government’s politically motivated decision to abandon its manifesto commitment on aid will have on the world’s most vulnerable people.”
“Cuts in support to countries in the midst of multiple humanitarian crises would cause devastation; leading to some of the world’s most vulnerable people to starve, stretched healthcare systems to collapse and access to clean water stripped away.”
“Make no mistake, people will die. Callous cuts like this signal a retreat from the world stage and will make us all less safe. This is not Global Britain.”
Documents obtained by openDemocracy now suggest the total bilateral humanitarian aid programme will be cut from £1.5 billion to £900 million.
The leak comes as more than a hundred UK charities condemned the Government’s decision to cut aid to Yemen.
The UK has pledged at least £87 million in aid, down from a promise of £160 million in 2020 and £200 million in 2019.