Commenting on this written statement from the UK Government on its plans for cutting aid from 0.7 to 0.5% of Gross National Income (1), Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said: 

"The Government's plans for slashing overseas aid are indefensible. These cuts will shave a whisker off UK borrowing, but bring deep devastation to the lives of the world's most marginalised people, precisely when global solidarity is most needed. 

"The brass neck to promise children - particularly girls - around the world that this Government will champion their right to learn, only to then take an axe to education spending, is as shallow as it is reckless.  

"COVID-19 has exacerbated the global education emergency. 258 million children were already out of school before the pandemic and now millions more stand to never return. Teachers the world over have worked tirelessly to guarantee their pupils' right to learn - often without adequate resources, training or fair remuneration. This moment demands steadfast, compassionate, and measured leadership, not unjust, mindless, and knee-jerk reactions.  

"The UK is hosting key summits this year including the G7, GPE, and COP26. But with this announcement, the Government has compromised its ability to lead allies and partners. The UK's international credibility is in tatters. 

"A direct line can and will be drawn between these cuts and irreversible damage to children's fundamental right to education, safety, and dignity. The Government must reverse this decision. 

ENDS 

Editor’s note 

  1. UK Official Development Assistance departmental allocations 2021-22

2021-081-NEU