RCPCH President calls on UK Government to reverse decision to cut ODA

In anticipation of a potential amendment to the Advanced Research and Invention Agency Bill on Monday 7 June 2021, Dr Camilla Kingdon calls on UK Government to recommit to spending 0.7% of gross national income on overseas development assistance (ODA).

In November's Spending Review, the UK Government announced it was reducing the proportion of gross national income spent on ODA from 0.7% to 0.5%. This intention was reiterated in the Queen's Speech delivered in May. 

A number of MPs have now tabled an amendment to the Advanced Research and Invention Agency Bill. If selected, the amendment calls on Government to abandon the proposed cuts and recommit to spending 0.7% of gross national income on ODA. 

Dr Camilla Kingdon, President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and Consultant Neonatologist said: 

As paediatricians we deplore the UK government's plan to slash our overseas aid budget. If it goes ahead then the UK will walk away from its role as a global health leader and abandon babies and children to face death and ill-health.   

The evidence shows that aid spending on child health works and significantly reduces child and infant mortality. To pull out of this work now, after decades of progress, would be devastating.  

This country has a proud and long-established role as a global health leader. As well as the life and death impact on children and families, the proposed cuts needlessly squander our reputation.  

Global Britain can’t just be about trade and opportunities. It must include our longstanding responsibilities and commitment to other nations and to children who so desperately need our support. There is a window to reverse this proposal and we implore all MPs to vote against the proposed cuts should the relevant amendment be selected on Monday.

RCPCH have sent a briefing to all MPs imploring them to vote in favour of the amendment if it is selected by the Speaker, which can be downloaded at the bottom of the page. 

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, the umbrella organisation for all medical colleges in the UK, has also published a statement urging Government to rethink their plans.