A lot of constituents have been in touch with me in recent days about last night's vote on the temporary reduction in the UK’s aid budget from 0.7 per cent to 0.5 percent of the UK’s Gross National Income (GNI).
I have always been proud of our commitment to international development which I have supported personally through my Singing for Syrians initiative. Helping to solve the world’s toughest problems and striving to be a force for good in the world is a priority. Whether it is stepping up to support desperate Syrians and Yemenis in conflict zones, leading the way in eradicating ebola and malaria, or supporting millions of children to access the education they deserve, UK aid is important for our international security while helping the world's poorest stand on their own two feet.
The past year has taught us all that difficult decisions must be made. It is important that we are honest about where we are: The UK is currently facing its worst economic contraction in 300 years because of the pandemic. It simply doesn’t make sense for the UK to borrow to a certain limit to fund aid.
The Chancellor has always been clear that the UK will return to 0.7 per cent as soon as the fiscal situation allows. The fiscal rules he has set had been reached in the years before the pandemic. I am confident that they will be again.