UK minister quits over development aid cuts

10 Downing Street in London, Britain, 16 November 2020. [EPA-EFE/FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA]

The UK government’s decision to cut development aid prompted an immediate backlash on Wednesday as junior minister Liz Sugg resigned, describing the cuts as “fundamentally wrong”.

Read also: UK set to slash development aid budget

Sugg had been the parliamentary under-secretary of state for the overseas territories and sustainable development.

The decision to cut aid spending from 0.7% of gross national income to 0.5% will be worth around £4 billion per year and formed part of the Spending Review published by Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak on Wednesday.

Sunak said it was hard to justify maintaining aid spending with the UK set to run a £390 billion deficit, equivalent to 19% of GDP, this year as a result of the emergency spending programmes to support businesses and employees affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, he insisted that the cuts would be temporary.

The chancellor also announced that the UK economy would contract by 11.3% this year – second only to Spain – before growing by 5.5% in 2021 and 6.6% in 2022. (Benjamin Fox | EURACTIV.com)

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