UK aid budget cuts undermine trust ahead of Cop26 summit, experts warn
(Climate Home News, 25 Nov 2020) The UK government has cut its overseas aid budget, in a move that risks alienating allies in the developing world ahead of hosting Cop26 climate talks.
On Wednesday, UK chancellor Rishi Sunak announced plans to slash the aid budget to 0.5% of national income from next year until “the fiscal situation allows” the country to return to its previous 0.7% commitment.
Sunak told parliament “sticking rigidly” to the 0.7% pledge was “difficult to justify to the British people… during a domestic fiscal emergency, when we need to prioritise our limited resources on jobs and public services”. Of the 30 developed countries, mostly in Europe, signed up to spend 0.7% of income on aid, the UK was one of only five to meet the target last year.
A commitment to spend £11.6 billion on climate finance for developing countries over 2021-25 will be protected, according to an accompanying document.
Nonetheless, the move went down badly with poorer nations, many of which are struggling to fund basic services as their debts mount during the coronavirus crisis.