Eamonn Holmes says foreign aid budget should be cut
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The Foreign Secretary admitted she was locked in “frequent” discussions with the Treasury on the aid budget as she answered questions from MPs in parliament today. Mr Sunak slashed how much Britain sends overseas last year in light of the Covid pandemic.
The Government introduced new legislation to overwrite a commitment to spending 07 percent of the UK’s gross domestic income on international development, cutting the budget to 0.5 percent.
Ministers promised the measure was temporary and that spending would increase again as soon as the economic situation allows.
The Government said last year it was hoping to return to 0.7 percent spending on aid as soon as 2023.
It would mean billions more in taxpayer money being sent overseas while ordinary Britons continue to battle the current cost of living crisis.
Giving evidence to the MPs on the international development select committee today, Ms Truss suggested she was pushing Mr Sunak to stick to the timetable and quickly re-introduce the higher rate spending.
“We are hoping that when the economic conditions recover, that we will be able to return to 0.7 percent as soon as possible,” she said.
“But ultimately, that is a discussion we are having with the Treasury as I’m sure you can appreciate.”
Joking with members of the committee, she added: “I have frequent discussions with the Treasury on the issue of our development budget.”
Committee chairman Sarah Champion said her colleagues “appreciate you fighting our corner Foreign Secretary, thank you very much”.
The frictions over spending on international development come on the same day Ms Truss also indicated she is at odds with the Chancellor over taxes.
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Speaking to the media this morning, the Foreign Secretary refused to endorse last month’s hike in national insurance contributions.
She said a “low tax economy” was the answer to the inflation surge.
In remarks seen as a signal to the Chancellor, the Foreign Secretary added: “The key response to the huge global inflation crisis we’re facing is to make sure our economy grows.
“That’s what’s going to help people.
“It’s going to help people in work, it’s going to help generate the income, and to do that we need to attract business investment.
“We’ve been successful at attracting business investment so far.
“We need to do more and what we know is a low tax economy helps deliver that business investment, helps deliver those jobs.”
Mr Sunak said today “we cannot protect people completely” from global problems which contributed to the current cost of living crisis.
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