FORMER archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams joined calls yesterday for Britain’s pledge on foreign aid spending to be kept, no matter which party wins the general election.
He called the aid budget a “badge of honour” and warned that its future would determine whether the country would be seen as “little Britain” or “global Britain.”
A commitment to spend at least 0.7 per cent of national income on overseas aid was enshrined in law by David Cameron, although some Tories are understood to be pressing Prime Minister Theresa May to leave the pledge out of the party’s election manifesto.
But charities including Oxfam and Save the Children issued a statement yesterday urging all political parties to stick to the commitment.
They said: “Britain keeps its promises. We stand up for the underdog and stand firm when things get tough.”
The statement concluded that the British public are proud not to have turned their backs on the world’s poorest people and called on all parties to “hold firm” on the promise on aid spending.
Mr Williams said Britain was facing a time of political and social flux with “great choices about the soul and the future of our nation” ahead.
He warned against turning the issue of foreign aid into a “political football.”
Global Justice Now spokesman Kevin Jones said he agreed with the 0.7 per cent commitment on aid spending.
However, he warned that some aid money is spent on “overpaid UK consultants pushing free market agendas and private equity schemes,” instead of alleviating structural poverty and “supporting the development of public health care and education systems.”