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Nearly 200 charities call on PM not to do a u-turn by reducing UK spend on aid

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Nearly 200 UK humanitarian, development and domestic charity leaders and leaders, including The National Federation of Women’s Institutes, Save the Children, Greenpeace UK, UNICEF UK and Friends of the Earth, are calling on the government to reconsider plans to reduce the proportion the UK spends on aid to 0.5%, rumoured to be announced as part of next week’s Spending Review.

In a letter signed by organisations responding to COVID-19 both here in the UK and globally said: “Any reductions in UK aid spend is a significant threat to development, and could seriously jeopardize the UK’s long term global COVID-19 response.

“115 million people look set to be pushed back into extreme poverty due to COVID-19. At such a critical time for the world’s poorest people, there will be fatal consequences if the government reneges on its promise to spend 0.7% of our gross national income on aid and development.”

The government Spending Review on 26th November, is expected to include the announcement that the Chancellor plans to reduce the proportion the UK spends on aid from 0.7% of GNI to 0.5% .

Kevin Watkins, CEO of Save the Children, was one of the first to add his signature to a public letter urging the Prime Minister to reconsider this decision. He says: “We are facing the worst humanitarian crisis in a generation alongside a global climate crisis. Next year the UK has an opportunity to lead the international response as the Prime Minister hosts the G7 and COP 26 climate summit. Abandoning the 0.7% aid commitment would surrender that opportunity and diminish the UK’s standing. It would deeply damage manifesto commitments to help end preventable child deaths and get every girl an education. The UK faces real financial challenges; but cutting aid would do huge harm to the world’s vulnerable people while making little difference to the Government’s budget overall. The Prime Minister should step up and show voters that a Global Britain is one that keeps its promises to people and the planet.

The letter concludes: “Next year the UK plays host to the G7 summit and the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26). 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.”

Organizations signing on to the open letter include; The National Federation of Women’s Institutes, Save the Children, 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.


Notes to editor

  1. 181 UK humanitarian and development charities and organizations have written to the Prime Minister calling for him to uphold the UK’s commitment to spend 0.7% of our gross national income on aid and development
  2. On the 20th November 2020, nearly 200 CEOs from charities of all sizes from across the UK urged the UK government not to reduce UK spend on aid
  3. For further information or interviews please contact Maryam Mohsin on 07555 336029 or

Dear Prime Minister,

We write to you as leaders of 181 organisations, including from the UK’s domestic charity and international development and humanitarian sector, 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 £3 billion 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.


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

Juian 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 Chid 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

Kate Garvey and Gail Gallie, Co-Founders, Project Everyone

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

NCVO, Karl Wilding, Chief Executive, Charity Finance Group

Caron Bradshaw, Chief Executive, DSC

Debra Allcock Tyler, Chief Executive

Othman Moqbel, Chief Executive, Syria Relief