Spending Review 2020

25th November 2020

Andrew Mitchell opposes breaking of the 0.7% promise on overseas aid.


I thank my right hon. Friend for his courtesy over the weekend and I assure him of my very strong support for virtually all of his package today. As a result of the pandemic here in the UK, 50,000 people have died and we are rightly moving heaven and earth to prevent more deaths here at home. Is he aware that his proposed breaking of the 0.7% promise and the 30% further reduction in cash will be the cause of 100,000 preventable deaths, mainly among children? This is a choice that I for one am not prepared to make. None of us in this House will be able to look our children in the eye and claim that we did not know what we were voting for.

I am enormously grateful to my right hon. Friend for the conversations I have been able to have with him, and I fully respect his passion on this subject. He brings an enormous amount of experience to this House on this topic, and obviously he will have heard the reasons that I set out for doing what we are doing. I believe we can still make a difference to the world’s poorest countries with the measures that we have put in place. The most pressing issue that the developing world faces at the moment is the ability to deliver and deploy a coronavirus vaccine. He will know that we are the largest donor globally to the COVAX advance market commitment, the global initiative that is supporting developing countries’ access to vaccines. Right now, that is probably the most important thing we could be doing. We are doing it. We are leading the world in helping tackle coronavirus. I know that my right hon. Friend and I will carry on this conversation.