This is a subject I have always taken a close personal interest in, particularly in cases like Yemen, where I was born.
We must be honest about where we are. The UK is currently facing its worst economic contraction in 300 years because of the pandemic, and a budget deficit double that caused by the 2008 financial crisis. At this time of unprecedented crisis, we have to make tough choices.
I am encouraged that the UK will still be spending more than £10 billion on fighting poverty, tackling climate change, supporting girls' education, resolving conflicts and improving global health. As one of the most generous aid donors in the G7, with a commitment considerably higher than the OECD average, and coupled with our expertise and convening power, the UK remains a one of the biggest donors of aid worldwide.
I have urged Ministers to restore the 0.7% target as soon as possible, but I do recognise – as I hope others will – that unless we have an economy generating the taxes which support Government spending, ultimately we reduce our ability to help the world’s poorest much further. In these exceptional times of economic disruption here, I understand why Ministers have had to have this temporary reduction even though I hope we can soon restore the 0.7% level which we have been meeting in recent years.
I will continue to watch this situation closely.