Thank you for contacting me about UK aid.
Development spending is an important part of securing the UK’s place in the world. Aid has the power to end disease, hunger and extreme poverty, build strong economies and help the world’s most vulnerable people. It also helps us to influence and shape the world around us. Spending 0.7 per cent of our national income on aid contributes to the UK’s reputation as a development superpower and helps deliver a more secure and prosperous UK, while having a life-saving impact on the ground.
Whether it’s stepping up to support desperate Syrian refugees, leading the way in eradicating Ebola and malaria, or giving life-saving aid to stop people dying of hunger in East Africa, UK aid is keeping the UK safe while helping the world’s poorest stand on their own two feet.
I share your pride in the extraordinary work achieved by our aid budget, which is life-saving and life-changing for millions of the poorest people around the world. Between 2015 and 2019, the Department for International Development (DFID) supported 14 million children to gain a decent education and helped almost 52 million people get access to clean water and/or better sanitation. DFID is also leading the global effort to save millions of girls from child marriage and Female Genital Mutilation, including the largest single investment to end FGM.
The new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) will place UK Aid at the heart of what it does, leveraging the development expertise of DFID through the reach of the FCO’s global network. The merger is set to be completed by September and the new department will be led by the Foreign Secretary.
I welcome the Prime Minister’s reassurance that this is not about rolling back commitments on international development, but about pursuing them with greater effect, and that reducing poverty will remain central to the UK’s international work. The UK remains committed to spending 0.7 per cent of GNI on international development, being the only G7 country to have enshrined this in legislation. I am glad that this merger will mean that, within the new Department, we will see all the idealism and sense of mission that comes from DFID, alongside an understanding of the need to project UK values, UK policies and UK interests overseas. Our values are not just right in themselves, but also the best route to lasting stability and growth.
As you may know I worked with the Foreign Office before entering politics and now as an elected representative I have been working with DfID to help eradicate gender-based violence. I have seen the best of these departments as well as comprehending the significance of ‘Global Britain’. This merger, in my opinion, offers an opportunity to strengthen our efforts abroad by tying our humanitarian work with our extensive diplomatic networks.
I will continue to push for a strong aid programme that delivers for those in need around the world and I hope that my parliamentary career, whether long or short, will allow me to work on this issues with a strong FCOD that delivers on humanitarian matters, many of which are close to my heart.