Theirworld joins almost 200 charities in calling on Prime Minister not to cut UK spend on aid

Dfid Aid Education 4
The UK has been a major funder of international development projects, with a particular focus recently on girls' education (Jessica Lea / DFID )

Education funding, Theirworld

Theirworld has joined almost 200 UK humanitarian, development and domestic charities, including Save the Children, Friends of the Earth and Christian Aid, in calling on the UK Government to reconsider plans to cut foreign aid. 

In an open letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the charity has warned that a cut in the proportion that the UK spends on international aid, from 0.7% to 0.5% of gross national income, would pose “a significant threat to development and could seriously jeopardise the UK’s long-term global Covid-19 response”.   

It is widely expected that the Chancellor will announce the cut in the Spending Review on November 25.    

“We understand the challenges and difficulties the UK public faces. Covid-19 has cost more than a million lives and has strained economies around the world, including in the UK,” the letter says.    

“However, at a time when 115 million people look set to be pushed back into extreme poverty, now is the time for an international, collaborative response to Covid-19, as set out in your speech at the UN General Assembly.”    

The letter concludes: “2021 sees the UK host the G7 summit and COP26, the 26th Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. It is a time that requires increased, not decreased, engagement from the British Government in its efforts to make the world healthier, safer and more prosperous.”    

Justin van Fleet, President of Theirworld, said: “A cut in spending poses a serious threat to global education at a time when Covid-19 has disrupted and continues to disrupt learning for some of the most vulnerable and marginalised children around the world.    

“In order to build back better, we need to ensure children and education are prioritised, so that we can honour our commitment to meeting the sustainable development goal of inclusive and equitable education for everyone.”   

Other organisations signing on to the open letter included: Greenpeace UK, Scotland’s International Development Alliance, NCVO, World Vision UK, Unicef UK, Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland, Christian Aid, World Jewish Relief, HelpAge International, WWF-UK, Amref Health Africa UK, The Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD), Islamic Relief Worldwide, Tearfund, VSO International and TackleAfrica. 

The Open Letter

Dear Prime Minister,  

We write to you as leaders of 187 organisations, including from the UK’s domestic charity and international development and humanitarian sectors, working with some of the most vulnerable and marginalised communities in more than 200 countries around the world, including the UK.

We understand the challenges and difficulties the UK public faces. COVID-19 has cost more than a million lives and has strained economies around the world, including in the UK. However, at a time when 115 million people look set to be pushed back into extreme poverty, now is the time for an international, collaborative response to COVID-19, as set out in your speech at the UN General Assembly. Now is not the time to renege on our promise to spend 0.7% of our gross national income on aid and development. Stepping back from our international commitments is not the solution and risks damaging the UK’s standing globally as we define our role in the world post-Brexit.  

The legal commitment to spend 0.7% of GNI on aid already allows for fluctuations of the UK economy, enabling the government to recoup nearly £3billion worth of spending this year. A U-turn on your manifesto commitment to maintain the 0.7% target would signal we are a nation willing to balance its books on the backs of the world’s most marginalised people, many of whom are dealing with the impact of COVID-19 on top of existing hardship. 

This pandemic has shown us that no-one is safe from this virus until we are all safe. The UK’s experience and credibility as a “development superpower”, rooted in its commitment and expertise, means it has a critical leadership role to play in helping strengthen global health systems and peacebuilding, tackle global challenges and reduce poverty to reduce the risks to us all from the next pandemic.

Now is not the time to signal a withdrawal on the world stage by reneging on the Government’s commitment. 2021 sees the UK host the G7 summit and COP26, the 26th Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. It is a time that requires increased, not decreased, engagement from the British Government in its efforts to make the world healthier, safer and more prosperous. We hope we can work with you to ensure that this is the case.  

Stephanie Draper, Chief Executive, Bond
Sam Bickersteth, CEO, Opportunity International 
Ruth Davison, CEO, Comic Relief
Kate Garvey, Gail Gallie and Richard Curtis, Co-Founders, Project Everyone
Professor Ian J. Govendir, CEO, AIDS orphan UK Trust 
Graeme Hodge, CEO, All We Can 
Dr. Nick Hepworth, Executive Director, Water Witness International 
Josephine Rodgers, Executive Director, Access Agriculture 
Dr. Mikey Rosato, CEO, Women and Children First (UK) 
Onyekachi Wambu, Executive Director, African Foundation for Development (AFFORD) 
Anita Tiessen, CEO, Youth Business International (YBI) 
Monowara Gani, CEO, Doctors Worldwide 
Tom Potokar, OBE, Professor of Global Burn Injury & Director of Interburns, Interburns (International Network for Training, Education & Research in Burns) 
Michael Deriaz, Chairman, Friends of Kipkelion 
Clare Wearden, Director, Village Water Limited 
Jean-Michel Grand, Executive Director, Action Against Hunger UK 
Calvin Laing, Acting Executive Director, Stakeholder Democracy Network (SDN) 
Caoimhe de Barra, CEO, Trócaire 
Jane Salmonson, Chief Executive, Scotland’s International Development Alliance 
Mark Galloway, Executive Director, International Broadcasting Trust 
Ognjen Radosavljevic, Managing Director, International Medical Corps UK 
Nick Grono, CEO, The Freedom Fund 
Jamie Balfour-Paul, Founder and Performing Magician, Magic for Smiles 
John Reynolds, Chief Executive, International Nepal Fellowship 
John Young, Executive Director, The International Network for Advancing Science and Policy (INASP) 
Rachel Lindley, CEO, Five Talents 
Robin Maynard, Executive Director, Population Matters 
Hyejoung Yang, Director, Good Neighbours UK 
Peter Waddup, National Director, The Leprosy Mission England and Wales 
Mr Saul Billingsley, Executive Director, FIA Foundation 
Benjamin Gilbert, International Projects Team Leader, The Salvation Army, UK 
Philip Goodwin, Chief Executive, VSO International 
Elizabeth Nelson, Director, Search for Common Ground UK 
Lucy Philipson, CEO, COCO (Comrades of Children Overseas) 
Caroline Qutteneh, Director, Welfare Association 
Michael Dockar, Director, International Service 
Kavita Prasad, CEO, DeafKidz International 
Julian Page, Trustee and Director, Livingstone Tanzania Trust 
Shona Lockyer, Chair of Trustees, The Kambia Appeal 
Phil Pugsley, CEO, Amigos Worldwide 
Karl Hankinson, CEO, Able Child Africa 
Tom Edwards, Director, PHASE Worldwide  
David Hulme, OBE, Professor of Development Studies, Global Development Institute 
Tom Kingsley, National Director, Light for the World UK 
Terina Keene, Group Chief Executive, Railway Children 
Anil Patil, Founder and Executive Director, Carers Worldwide 
Olivia Barker White, CEO, Kids Club Kampala 
Bert R Smit, CEO, ADRA-UK 
Nigel Harris, Chief Executive, Tearfund 
Jessica Woodroffe, Director, Gender & Development Network 
Lara Allen, CEO, Centre for Global Equality 
Meena Varma, Director, Dalit Solidarity Network UK  
Caroline Ford, Chief Executive, Consortium for Street Children 
Dr. Wendy Harrison, CEO, SCI Foundation 
Mark Sheard, CEO, World Vision UK 
Jonathan Dudding, Director, ICA:UK 
Dr. Faith Mwangi-Powell, CEO, Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage  
Erica Belanger, Executive Director, SafeHands 
Professor Melissa Leach, Director, Institute of Development Studies  
Hamid Azad, CEO, Muntada Aid 
Jill Healey, Executive Director, ChildHope UK 
Asif Hussain, CEO, SKT Welfare 
Peter Marsden, CEO, Concordis International 
Tricia Young, CEO, Terre des hommes UK 
Jasmina Haynes, CEO, Integrity Action 
Adele Paterson, CEO, International Health Partners 
Alex Daniels, Chief Executive, APT Action on Poverty 
Kirsty Smith, CEO, CBM UK  
Paul Smith Lomas, Chief Executive, Practical Action 
Mr Darren Cormack, Chief Executive, The Mines Advisory Group (MAG)  
Henry Pomeroy, Director, CHASE Africa 
Jim Emerson, Chief Executive, INTRAC  
Dr. Stephen R. Connor, Executive Director, Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance 
Joshua Castellino, Executive Director, Minority Rights Group 
David Hope-Jones, OBE, Chief Executive, Scotland Malawi Partnership  
Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah, Chief Executive, Oxfam Great Britain 
Justin Dowds, CEO, Compassion UK 
Bijay Kumar, Executive Director, Global Network of Civil Society Organisations for Disaster Reduction (GNDR) 
Claire O’Shea, Head of Partnership, Hub Cymru Africa 
Kevin Watkins, Chief Executive, Save the Children 
David Evans, UK Country Director, Ace Africa UK 
Martin Hartberg, Director, NRC UK  
Martin Drewry, CEO, Health Poverty Action 
Christopher Williams, Chairman, RTpay 
Petter Matthews, Executive Director, Engineers Against Poverty 
Camilla Knox-Peebles, Chief Executive, Amref Health Africa UK 
Andrew Betts, Director, Advantage Africa 
Jon Rosser, Chief Executive, World Child Cancer 
Andrew Norton, Director, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) 
Christine Allen, Director, The Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD)  
Caroline Haworth, CEO, Womankind Worldwide 
Dr. Christine Sow, CEO & President, Humentum 
Aleema Shivji, Chief Executive, Humanity & Inclusion UK 
Charles Nelson, Chief Executive, Malaria Consortium 
Julian Olivier, Chief Executive, Raleigh International 
Paul Murphy, Executive Director, Saferworld 
Vinny Smith, Chief Executive, Meningitis Research Foundation 
Christina Bennett, CEO, Start Network 
Jacqui Hunt, Director Europe/Eurasia Office, Equality Now  
Fiona Bristow, Director, Kanaama Interactive Community Support 
Debbie Ariyo, OBE, CEO, AFRUCA – Safeguarding Children  
Peter McAllister, Executive Director, Ethical Trading Initiative  
Jimmy Innes, CEO, ADD International 
Lewis Temple, Chief Executive, BRAC UK 
Tim Wainwright, Chief Executive, WaterAid 
Patrick Fine, CEO, FHI 360 
Justin W. van Fleet, President, Theirworld 
Patricia Alexander, Managing Director, Shared Interest Society 
Patrick Young, Executive Director, Theatre for a Change 
Nick Mabey, CEO, E3G (Third Generation Environmentalism) 
Anna-mai Andrews and Katie Fowler, Co-CEOs, Chance for Childhood 
Richard Kramer, Chief Executive, Sense International 
Ian Shapiro, CEO, Reall 
Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, Executive Director, Kaleidoscope Trust 
Ceris Turner-Bailes, Chief Executive, WasteAid 
Marie Rumsby, UK Country Director, Global Citizen  
Paul Cornelius, CEO, Food for the Hungry UK 
Julian Watson, Director, Mbedza Projects Support 
Dr. Husna Ahmad, OBE, CEO, Global One 2015 
Jasmine O’Connor, OBE, CEO, Anti-Slavery International 
Nancy E. Wilson, CEO, Relief International – UK 
Tonderai Mazingaizo, Director of Operations, Afghanaid 
Ian Wishart, CEO, The Fred Hollows Foundation 
Jenny Hodgson, Executive Director, Global Fund for Community Foundations 
Nigel Harris, Chief Executive, Tearfund 
Helen McEachern, CEO, Cherie Blair Foundation for Women 
Dr. Patrick Roach, General Secretary, NASUWT  
Chris Roles, Managing Director, Age International  
Frances Hill, Chair, Board of Trustees, South West International Development Network (SWIDN) 
Charlie Gamble, CEO, TackleAfrica 
David Hillman, Director, Stamp Out Poverty 
Alexandra Angulo, Interim Executive Director, MERCY CORPS 
Paul Anticoni, Chief Executive, World Jewish Relief 
Justin Derbyshire, CEO, HelpAge International 
Ben Simms, CEO, The Tropical Health and Education Trust (THET) 
Matthew Lake, CEO, Dhaka Ahsania Mission UK 
Ciaran Maguire, Chief Executive, Karuna Trust 
Vicky Browning, CEO, ACEVO 
Alison Wallace, CEO, SOS Children’s Villages UK 
Romilly Greenhill, UK Director, ONE Campaign  
Melissa Green, General Secretary, The National Federation of Women’s Institutes 
Danielle Harvey, Executive Director, Concern Worldwide (UK) 
Naser Haghamed, CEO, Islamic Relief Worldwide 
Chris Roles, Managing Director, Age International 
Jonathan Hargreaves, Director, Health Communication Resources UK 
Girish Menon, Chief Executive, ActionAid UK 
Dr. Caroline Harper, CEO, Sightsavers 
Tanya Steele, CEO, WWF-UK 
Rob Williams, CEO, War Child UK 
Dr. Joel C. Gill, Executive Director, Geology for Global Development 
Mike Young, CEO, International Alert 
Lorraine Currie, Head of Integral Human Development Department, Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund 
Justin Derbyshire, Chief Executive, HelpAge International 
Michael Gidney, CEO, The Fairtrade Foundation  
Hannah Nixon, Campaign Manager, Send My Friend to School 
Katie Husselby, Coordinator, Action for Global Health Network 
Tony Burdon, CEO, Make My Money Matter 
Valerie Wilson, Founder and CEO, Team Kenya  
Paul Stuart, CEO, Send a Cow 
Catherine McCarthy, Chief Executive, Medical Aid Films 
Rebecca Cronin, CEO, Orbis UK 
Jonathan Cohen, OBE, Executive Director, Conciliation Resources 
Amanda Khozi Mukwashi, Chief Executive, Christian Aid  
Alexandra Benjamin, Forest Governance Campaigner, Fern  
Tiziana Oliva, Managing Director Global Influencing and Programmes, Leonard Cheshire 
Perry Maddox, CEO, Restless Development 
Rose Caldwell, CEO, Plan International UK  
Dylan Mathews, Chief Executive, Peace Direct 
Max Barber, Trustee, AzuKo 
Sarah Ingleby, CEO, Tools for Self Reliance 
Andy Pask, CEO, Cord 
Tom Dannatt, CEO, Founder, Street Child 
Mark Waddington, CBE, CEO, Hope and Homes for Children 
Aaron Oxley, Executive Director, RESULTS UK 
Lynne Morris, CEO, Toybox  
Miriam Turner and Hugh Knowles, Co-CEOs, Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland 
John Sauven, Executive Director, Greenpeace UK 
Laurie Lee, Chief Executive, CARE International UK 
Andrew Jowett, OBE, CEO, Build It International 
Steven Waugh, Interim Executive Director, Unicef UK 
Karl Wilding, Chief Executive, NCVO
Caron Bradshaw, Chief Executive, Charity Finance Group 
Debra Allcock Tyler, Chief Executive, DSC
Harriet Lamb,  CEO, Ashden 
Christine Stegling, Executive Director, Frontline AIDS 
Dr. Sally Uren, OBE CEO, Forum for the Future
Charlotte Timson, CEO, Traidcraft Exchange
Othman Moqbel, Chief Executive, Syria Relief

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