We, 10 of the leading charities working in Syria, would like to express our concerns that the UK government today (Tuesday 30th March) announced that its aid budget to Syria will be £205 million, down 32% from the £300 million pledged in 2020, and almost a 50% reduction from the £400 million pledged in 2019.
The UK government’s decision to slash the aid budget to Syria by a third, at a time when the humanitarian situation in Syria is worse than ever before, will put lives at risk. Over 90% of Syrians are already living in poverty, 12.4 million are suffering from food insecurity, and 12.2 million lack regular access to clean water.
The UK was the third largest aid donor to Syria, where 13 million people need some form of humanitarian assistance. This decision risks the lives of 210,000 Syrians who rely on UK aid for food every month, as well as the 100,000 Syrian refugees in the region who depend on UK aid for clean water and sanitation.
Four months ago, the Middle East Minister James Cleverly told Parliament “Many countries have turned their backs on the Syrian people; the United Kingdom is not one of them and we will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with them in their time of need.” However, cutting aid to Syria by a third is devastating, and the impact on the Syrian people will be devastating. We strongly urge the government to stand true to its promise. Contrary to what Mr Cleverly said, the government is turning its back on the Syrian people in their time of need.
NAME, JOB TITLE, ORGANISATION, EMAIL TO CONFIRM SIGN OFF (email address not for publication)
Othman Moqbel, Chief Executive, Syria Relief
Matthew Carter, Humanitarian Director, CAFOD
Zia Salik, Interim Director, Islamic Relief UK
Patrick Watt, Director of Policy, Public Affairs & Campaigns, Christian Aid
Jean Michel Grand, Executive Director, Action Against Hunger
Laurie Lee, CEO, Care International UK
Selena Victor, Senior Director, Policy & Advocacy
Martin Hartberg, UK Director, Norwegian Refugee Council, Martin Hartberg
Melanie Ward, Interim UK Executive Director, International Rescue Committee
David Westwood, Director of Policy & Programmes, World Vision UK