Rishi Sunak defends decision to cut foreign aid spending
Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s projected cut to overseas aid budget announced last month has led to the development of a cross-party revolt, the Daily Telegraph reported. One senior insider in the rebellion told the paper there is “every likelihood that the Government will be obliged to back down as it is clear that the rebellion, when it comes, will be well organised and compelling”.
A vote on the cut is believed to be scheduled for the end of March or beginning of April.
Andrew Mitchell, a former International Development Secretary, wrote in the Telegraph it is “patronising” to indicate that there is “100 percent support among the ‘Red Wall’ seats for cutting aid”.
He highlighted that such supporters “elected this Government”.
He added: “Each and every member of the House of Commons was elected a year ago on a promise to stand by our commitment to spend 0.7 percent of our gross national income on helping the poorest.”
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Mr Mitchell explained that the reduction would lead to “tens of thousands of avoidable deaths, perhaps as many as 100,000, particularly amongst children, from entirely preventable diseases like pneumonia, malaria and diarrhoea”.
He warned that if the Government followed through with the cut he believed “significant numbers of Conservative MPs, conscious of their promise to their electorate and profoundly concerned about this cynical and unnecessary piece of cultural politics will oblige the Government to think again.”
Mr Mitchell added: “There will be no abstention by opposition parties this time.
“The House of Commons will exert its authority and ensure that this commitment is honoured.”
Last month, it emerged Mr Sunak had commissioned a Government review into ways he could collect funds to boost the UK’s economy.
Inheritance tax currently stands at a 40 percent rate, but there have been calls for the system to be reformed.
Tax Research UK’s founder Richard Murphy has proposed reforms to inheritance tax which he believes would be a more effective wealth tax.
He said on the Tax Research UK website: “Because it collects relatively little money there are a great many options for replacing inheritance tax.
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“The most effective, and fairest, would be to tax all receipts of gifts during a person’s lifetime.
“This would discourage the concentration of wealth and instead of charging the dying – who could then give to whomsoever they wanted – would charge the living to reduce inequality.
“Few doubt that this is the best long term direction of travel.”
Mr Murphy told Express.co.uk that Mr Sunak has been complacent during the coronavirus pandemic.
He claimed the Chancellor’s “star is over” as he highlighted of the alarming rates of unemployment.
Mr Murphy said: “Rishi Sunak’s star is definitely over. His rising star, his moment of glory in August, is done.
“The Eat Out to Help Out scheme has clearly backfired, this will be enough to basically kill his chances of ever becoming Prime Minister.
“I also have absolutely no doubt his job support scheme will backfire on him too.”
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