The once “sunset empire” is now trapped in the quagmire of Brexit and the coronavirus, and it has long been overwhelmed economically.
The Guardian revealed on the 26th local time that at a time time, British diplomats have received instructions from the government to cut the British overseas bilateral aid budget by 50% to 70% in the weeks leading up to the next fiscal year, by up to billions of pounds.
This move has aroused the dissatisfaction of many British politicians and some non-governmental organizations, who accuse the policy of “lack of transparency” and describe it as a “catastrophic” action, believing that it will hit the world’s groups in need of assistance.
However, the International Monetary Fund has lowered its economic growth forecast for 2021 to 4.5%, down 1.4 percentage points from the 5.9% forecast last October.
“Our diplomats received instructions from the Foreign Ministry today to cut the foreign aid budget by up to 50% to 70%.” Sarah Champion, chairman of the British Parliament’s Special Committee on International Development, said on Tuesday, “There is no doubt that life will be lost in the world. This will also destroy Britain’s global position in humanitarian affairs.”
However, British Foreign Secretary Raab said on the same day that the aid projects to be cut have not yet been finalized.
According to the budgets for overseas development expenditure of various departments of the British government for the fiscal year 2020-2021 released by Raab on the same day, the total amount is close to 10 billion pounds.
Nevertheless, analysts from the British Center for Global Development said that of the £10 billion spent on overseas development, excluding the budget for projects that have been earmarked, the budget left to the British government for bilateral assistance abroad is only about Pound3.4 billion, which is shrinking compared with the previous fiscal year. 60% of the water.
If this plan is finally implemented, the British government’s foreign aid budget will also fall from 0.7% of GDP to 0.5%.
Ian Mitchell, an analyst at the Center for Global Development, warned that this sharp decline would create unprecedented “significant risks”.
“It took four years for the UK to increase its budget from 0.5% to 0.7%, but now it will take a few weeks to return to the previous level.” Mitchell believes that this behavior will significantly undermine Britain’s bilateral aid programs, many of which are used to help the world’s poorest countries, covering major issues such as basic health care and the fight against the coronavirus epidemic in these regions.
In addition, opponents also believe that the British government’s move is “illegal”.
Garnier, the former British Conservative Attorney General, also warned Raab, believing that cutting such a large aid budget without the passage of new legislation is “possibly illegal”.
“The government must act on the previous proportions before Congress passes a law to cut the budget.” said Ghani.
According to the British Daily Telegraph, three British non-governmental organizations also accused the policy of lack of transparency and did not disclose the details of the reduction project, which was “shrouded in secrets”.
“This is really shocking considering that the UK has always had the leading transparency in the world.” Gary Foster, CEO of the UK non-governmental organization Publish What You Fund, said.
Behind the UK’s planned aid budget cuts is the persistently sluggish economic data under the double haze of the epidemic and Brexit.
The Guardian said on the 26th that the International Monetary Fund lowered its economic growth forecast for the UK for 2021 to 4.5%.
This figure is down 1.4 percentage points from the 5.9% forecast last October.
The IMF also predicts that the British economy will not return to pre-epidemic levels until 2022.
The British Government’s Office of Budget Responsibility had previously predicted that the British economy would shrink by 4% in 15 years compared with staying in the EU in the event of a Brexit agreement.
It is estimated that the UK’s GDP contraction in 2020 will be as high as 10%, the largest decline among the Group of Seven (G7) countries.
Meanwhile, the epidemic in Britain is far from under control.
On the 26th local time, Britain became the first country in Europe to have more than 100,000 coronavirus deaths.
Prime Minister Johnson made a speech on the same day, apologizing for the government’s ineffectiveness in fighting the epidemic.
Johnson said that the British government is fully responsible for the decision to fight the epidemic, and the government will continue to spare no effort to fight the epidemic.
According to the latest statistics of the British Department of Health, on the 27th local time, the number of new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United Kingdom was 2,089, with a total of 3,68,746; the number of deaths within 28 days after the new diagnosis was 1,631, with a total of 100,162.