Today’s UK Budget was an important moment in the fight against extreme poverty. Millions of young lives and family futures depended on Chancellor George Osborne sticking to his promise not to balance the books on the backs of the world’s poorest people. And I’m very happy to say that today, he has.
In the last two weeks, more than 140 ONE members here in the UK have sent letters to the Chancellor, asking him to keep his promise and spend just 0.7% of national income on international aid from 2013 onwards.
Our new report – Small Change, Big Difference – highlights the great results that UK aid will achieve for the world’s poorest people, including putting 15.9 million children in school over the next four years. But for that to happen, there are two key moments the UK Government must deliver on.
The first of those was today, when George Osborne set out the UK’s spending plans for the next financial year. Had the current aid spending of 0.56% of national income been cut back, hitting 0.7% in 2013 would be much harder to reach, leading to fewer babies born safely, fewer people able to access life-saving treatment for HIV, and fewer people protected from malaria.
The next pivotal moment is 12 months away. In the Budget next year the Chancellor will need to confirm the UK will hit the 0.7% target. Any delay would mean the Department for International Development wouldn’t be able to help 17 million people access clean and safe drinking water, or provide 80 million children with vaccines against preventable diseases – saving around 1.4 million lives.
Today, we can be proud of the UK Government for not walking away from those living on just a dollar a day. And now it’s over to us. The Government need to see and hear from ONE members that this is popular, affordable, and makes an incredible difference.
We’ll be in touch to let you know how you can be a part of this journey. But something that you can do right now is download our new report, take a look at the great results that UK aid could achieve, and let your friends, family and colleagues know just how many lives will be touched – if we stay on track.
Thank you to everyone who wrote a letter to the Chancellor. Each of your voices helped show that Britain cares. The UK can be the first G8 country to fulfill its aid promise, and with you as ambassadors, we have a great chance of doing so.
Join in the discussion about our new report using the #bigdifference hashtag on Twitter