Sunday, 28 Nov 2021

‘Don’t just throw cash at it!’ Tories fume as Sunak pledges RISE to foreign aid

Budget 2021:Chancellor Rishi Sunak Inflation likely to rise further

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Delivering his Budget in the Commons this afternoon, the Chancellor said he was hopeful the 0.7 percent spending target would be reimposed for the 2024-25 financial year. Last year the Government announced plans to suspend the target for the immediate future due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Sunak said at the time he was taking the “difficult decision” to decrease the target spend from the 0.7 percent rate to 0.5 percent due to the “immense” damage the virus had inflicted on the economy.

His decision was celebrated by Express.co.uk readers and grassroots Conservatives alike, who believe fixing problems closer to home must be the Government’s priority.

They say the international aid budget should not be fixed in law but fluctuate depending on the country’s financial needs.

However, today Mr Sunak said aid spending would likely return to 0.7 percent before the next election.

“As a Conservative I wish the success of our foreign aid spending was judged by its outcomes not merely by the amount of taxpayers cash we throw at it,” Tory MP Andrew Bridgen told Express.co.uk.

Another added: “We shouldn’t be committing to spending a certain promotion of our national income on international aid.

“It should fluctuate depending on the current situation and general budget background.

“No other budget set out by the Chancellor has its funding amount guaranteed each year.”

The 0.7 percent spending to part of the Conservative’s 2019 manifesto.

First committed to by David Cameron, the spending target is written into law.

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Earlier this year the Government held a Commons vote to receive consent to alter the law.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the spending would increase “as soon as circumstances allow”.

Mr Sunak set out “fiscal tests” which would need to be met in order to return to the increased amount.

He said day-to-day borrowing would need to stop and underlying debt would need to be falling.

In the Commons this afternoon he said: “I told the House that when we met our fiscal tests, we would return to spending 0.7 percent of our national income on overseas aid.

“Some people said this was a trick or a device.

“I told this House – it was no such thing.

“And based on the tests I set out, today’s forecasts show that we are, in fact scheduled to return to 0.7 in 2024-25 – before the end of the Parliament.”

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