All but “essential” UK overseas aid spending has been halted in an unprecedented Treasury move which a senior Conservative MP is warning will “cost lives”.
Aid organisations and politicians have condemned the crackdown – sparked by the cut to allocating only 0.5 per cent of GDP and the growing cost of relief work in Ukraine.
Departments have been told to suspend “non-essential aid spending” until Boris Johnson’s replacement as prime minister is in post, because the lower cap is about to be breached
Sam Nadel, head of government relations at Oxfam, warned that help for Ukraine “cannot come at the expense of responding to other emergencies around the world such as in east Africa and Yemen”.
David Lammy, Labour’s shadow foreign secretary, said: “At a time of chronic global food shortages, drought, rising prices and conflict in so many parts of the world, it’s extraordinary that UK developmental aid appears to have been suspended.
“Lives literally appear to be dependent on the Conservative party leadership elections.”
And Andrew Mitchell, the former Tory international development secretary, said: “To withhold spending on life-saving projects in this way will undoubtedly cost lives and further impair the UK’s reputation.”
The government said ministers are “prioritising overseas aid funding such as providing humanitarian support to the people of Ukraine”.