A Foreign Office minister has resigned in protest against the Government’s decision to cut the overseas aid budget, saying such a move is “fundamentally wrong”.
hancellor Rishi Sunak announced the aid budget will be cut to 0.5% of gross national income in 2021 – in spite of promises not to reduce it in the Conservative manifesto – adding the Government’s “intention” is to return it to 0.7% when the fiscal situation allows.
Baroness Sugg, whose brief included sustainable development, said promises should be kept in the “tough times as well as the good”.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, she wrote: “Many in our country face severe challenges as a result of the pandemic and I know the Government must make very difficult choices in response.
“But I believe it is fundamentally wrong to abandon our commitment to spend 0.7% of gross national income on development. This promise should be kept in the tough times as well as the good.
“Given the link between our development spend and the health of our economy, the economic downturn has already led to significant cuts this year and I do not believe we should reduce our support further at a time of unprecedented global crises.”
Boris Johnson said he was “very sorry” to receive her resignation, writing in reply that he is “extremely grateful” for her service as a minister.
“Your work has made a difference to millions of girls around the world, and will stand us in good stead for the Global Partnership for Education replenishment event next year,” he said.
“In addition, your leadership and rigour in the lead up to and during the Africa Investment Summit made it the enormous success it was.
“Your passion and commitment to your work has been clear to civil servants and your ministerial colleagues, and I know that the FCDO will miss you.”