How did your MP vote on cutting international aid?
- Credit: Archant
The government has voted to slash the UK's foreign aid budget by £4billion after a decision was made by Chancellor, Rishi Sunak to cut the package from 0.7 per cent to 0.5 per cent of gross national income.
The Treasury update was labelled a necessity due to the economic impact of the Covid pandemic - and MPs representing North Somerset, Weston and Wells all agreed.
John Penrose, Liam Fox and James Heappey voted in favour of the Conservative amendment.
All three MPs stressed that they each supported a return to 0.7 per cent of gross national income going towards a foreign aid budget once the UK's economic situation improved.
North Somerset representative, Dr Liam Fox told the Mercury and Times: "I have been assured that the UK will return to 0.7 per cent as soon as the fiscal situation allows.
"That is, as the Chancellor clarified on July 12, when the Government is no longer borrowing for day-to-day spending and when debt is falling.
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"I believe this is the most economically prudent way in which to return to satisfying the 0.7 per cent target in light of the prevailing economic circumstances and I hope this will be as soon as possible."
Wells MP, James Heappey echoed this sentiment - stating that UK residents should be prioritised in "extraordinary times".
He said: "I felt that in a very hard choice between furlough and other economic support schemes at home versus maintaining our aid contributions overseas, we should, in these extraordinary times, prioritise people at home.
"However, I also think we should return to 0.7 per cent of GDP in the future."
Mr Heappey also stated that the country's support for economically developing countries, known as ODA, does cover the full extent of overseas support.
He added: “It is also important to note that not everything the UK does to support countries around the world is counted in our ODA spend.
"For example, the £548million of vaccine aid through the COVAX programme is in addition to our ODA spend. This has helped supply 1.3 billion vaccines to 117 countries, including 92 developing countries."
John Penrose, Weston's MP, told the Mercury and Times that he was concerned about the implications the vote could bring - but has been reassured by senior cabinet members.
Mr Penrose said: "I was concerned about this cut. The law allows a temporary cut in emergencies like the pandemic, but not a permanent change.
"I spoke to senior cabinet ministers to say I could not support it unless there was a way back to 0.7 per cent once things get back to normal and they listened.
"The announcement says we will go back to 0.7 per cent as soon as our finances are back to normal. This seems fair because, while it is right not to balance the books on the backs of the world's poorest people, it is also right not to hand the bills for our day-to-day spending to future generations by paying for it through borrowings which they will ultimately have to repay either."