Fairtrade Foundation opposes ‘short-sighted’ cut to UK aid budget

Fairtrade Foundation opposes ‘short-sighted’ cut to UK aid budget

Reacting to the announcement that UK aid will be cut to 0.5% of GNI in 2021, CEO of the Fairtrade Foundation, Mike Gidney, said: 

‘We are strongly opposed to this deep cut to UK aid, which threatens any hopes for a truly ‘global Britain’. We have seen first-hand this year the devastating impact of this pandemic on some of the world’s poorest farmers and workers. At the same time, Hurricanes Eta and Iota have devastated parts of Central America this month, crippling food production on which we all depend and stripping away livelihoods from thousands of Fairtrade farmers at a stroke.

‘Now is not the time to be withdrawing our support which is meeting urgent needs and helping provide opportunity and a way out of poverty, as well as shoring up the supply of goods on which we rely in the UK.

‘The law enshrining the 0.7% aid target is one of Britain’s proudest achievements and must not be amended. We urge all MPs to vote against any amendment to reduce the target to 0.5%, should the Government bring it before the House.

‘In times of crisis the interdependencies between countries becomes even more important. Vulnerable farmers and workers are integral to producing the 15% of our food that comes from countries in Asia, Africa and South America. We depend on them for food just as much as they depend on us for support. The pandemic has shown the fragility of many of these supply chains, and the need to support these farmers and workers to become more resilient to crises such as these. 

‘The UK aid budget needs to include a focus on supporting people in the global south with decent work and opportunities to trade their way out of poverty, a goal that should also be upheld by the UK’s future trade policy. 

‘Whilst we undoubtedly have challenges in the UK, in times of crisis it’s only right that we continue to play our role in supporting the world’s most vulnerable and those on whom we rely for many of our goods and services. Pushing the Bangladeshi cotton worker who makes our clothes, or the tea worker who provides us with our daily cuppa, further into poverty will only make the problems worse, now and in the future.

‘Cutting aid during a pandemic is a short-sighted move. With the UK hosting the COP and G7 next year, we should be doing all we can to help deliver a fair and green global recovery. We will struggle to persuade other leaders to keep their international commitments when we are dismissing our own. We urge the Government to think again.’ 

ENDS

For further information contact Tomilola Ajayi: tomilola.ajayi@fairtrade.org.uk