A coalition of 29 faith organisations have written an open letter to the Prime Minister, urging the government to maintain its current budget for overseas aid in the upcoming Comprehensive Spending Review. The letter urges the government to ensure that aid continues to be used to alleviate poverty in countries most at need and that the proportion of aid sent by the government to these countries should be protected from “further decline”.
The letter states the signatories’ belief that the UK “has a moral responsibility to continue to provide 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income in aid and to influence other governments to do likewise”. Acknowledging the complexity of the Spending Review, the signatories say they “pray that in your discernment, compassion for the poorest and most marginalised will guide your work”.
Signatories to the letter include the Right Reverend Paul Butler, bishop of Durham, Right Reverend Susan Brown, moderator of the general assembly of the Church of Scotland, Harun Khan, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Great Britain, Rabbi Aaron Goldstein, chair of the Conference of Liberal Rabbis and Cantors; along with representatives of other Christian, Jewish and Muslim organisations.
The Spending Review will set budgets for resource spending for all government departments from 2020 to 2023. It is not clear at present how such a review can be completed before the timing and nature of the UK’s departure from the EU has been settled. But in April 2019 the Department for International Development (DfID) updated planning guidance explaining how overseas aid programmes would continue to be delivered in the event of a no deal Brexit. See https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/delivering-overseas-aid-programmes-if-theres-no-brexit-deal/delivering-overseas-aid-programmes-if-theres-no-brexit-deal