Open letter to MPs on UK Aid cuts

The Rt. Revd. Dr Steven Croft, Bishop of Oxford, responds to the Spending Review

25 November 2020

Following the Chancellor’s announcement in today’s Spending Review of a ‘temporary’ reduction in the international development budget, The Rt. Revd. Dr Steven Croft has written to all MPs representing the three counties of Oxfordshire, Berkshire, and Buckinghamshire to express his disappointment at the decision and to urge them to reject the cuts.

Speaking about today’s announcement, Bishop Steven said,

“I am writing to the MPs who represent the people of our Diocese out of deep concern for the devastating impacts that this change will have.

“Whilst I fully acknowledge the scale and complexity of the challenges the government now faces, the fact remains that we are one of the richest countries in the world and the Chancellor’s actions today undermine reassurances given previously by Ministers on the floor of the House of Lords to honour the 0.7% of GDP commitment. Perhaps most worrying, the Chancellor has given no assurance of when 0.7% will be restored. Cutting our development spending will heap a disproportionate extra load onto nations already overburdened by debt, poverty, and other developmental challenges.”

The World Bank estimates that up to 150 million people now risk falling into extreme poverty through the effects of the pandemic and Bishop Steven joins other senior Church members as well as the Arch Bishop of Canterbury in calling for people to urge their MPs to reject the cuts to the international development budget to ensure that the gains of the last 20 years are not wiped out.

Bishop Steven concluded by saying,

“The Government’s 0.7% commitment to foreign aid, enshrined in law, is both a tangible and a symbolic demonstration of the values underpinning Britain’s global aspiration to use her wealth and her soft power as a force for good in the world.”

For more information, please visit Bishop Steven’s blog.