Christian Aid today warmly welcomed the government’s pledge to stand by its commitment of contributing 0.7 per cent of gross national income to overseas aid from 2013.
Chief Policy Adviser Alex Cobham said: ’We have every sympathy for those in the UK who will be hit by the spending cuts announced by the Chancellor today.
‘However, the money pledged to international development will make the difference between life and death to some of the poorest people on earth. It would have been easy to forget their plight amid the shock waves caused by the comprehensive spending review.
‘But despite the difficulties the UK faces, it remains one of the richest countries in the world. It is therefore beholden on us to meet our moral responsibilities to men and women in countries less fortunate. The Government deserves credit for doing this.’
Christian Aid warned, however, that the money must first and foremost go towards the goal of poverty eradication where it is needed most, rather than countries that present a security concern.
The international development agency added that it was vital that staffing levels at the Department for International Development remained robust enough to administer the aid budget properly.
Following the Chancellor’s speech, more than 2,000 Christian Aid supporters went to Parliament to lobby their MPs in support of the protection of the aid budget, while demanding further action against climate change and offshore tax abuses that are so damaging to poor countries. .
At a rally earlier in Central Hall, Westminster, they were told by veteran US civil rights campaigner the Reverend Jesse Jackson: ‘Jesus told us it this way: we are measured by how we treat the least of these, if we feed the hungry, if we fight for the homeless, defend the poor and the leper. Don’t let these challenges break your spirit.’
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Notes to Editors:
1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in nearly 50 countries. We act where the need is greatest, regardless of religion, helping people build the lives they deserve.
2. Christian Aid has a vision, an end to global poverty, and we believe that vision can become a reality. Our report, Poverty Over, explains what we believe needs to be done – and can be done – to end poverty. Details at http://www.christianaid.org.uk/Images/poverty-over-report.pdf
3. Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of 100 churches and church-related organisations that work together inhumanitarian assistance and development. Further details at http://www.actalliance.org
4. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_newswire
5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid visit www.christianaid.org.uk