Aid budget cuts: SfGH statement

The decision to cut the UK aid budget from 0.7% to 0.5% of gross national income is a devastating blow to the human right to health all over the world. As an organisation Students for Global Health strongly opposes this decision.

Students for Global Health’s vision is for a fair and just world in which equity in health is a reality for all. In order to achieve this, high-income countries such as the UK must provide financial assistance towards the sustainable development of poorer countries.

Global Health equity cannot be achieved without investment and politicial leadership, both of which the government turns away from by making this decision.

Over the past five years UK Aid has contributed to progress in global health. From training hundreds of doctors in Somaliland, to protecting 10 million people across 10 countries from Blindness. The decision to reduce UK Aid not only undermines the progress made over the past five years, but is a major step in the wrong direction during a global pandemic.

Additionally, rich nations, who have built their success on colonialism and environmental destruction, have a duty to invest in countries who have borne the consequences of global inequality. Whilst the aid industry remains imperfect, cuts to one of the few mechanisms for supporting vulnerable communities globally are the opposite to what is needed.

The decision comes at a time when global cooperation on health and sustainable development could not be more essential. The pandemic has shown us that we cannot live in a healthy global society when billions of people lack access to healthcare, are facing stark inequality, and are forced into poverty.

The government has stated pressure on public finances as their primary reason for this stress, despite the percentage nature of the 0.7% commitment, and neglecting to explain why investment in health and wellbeing of the global community should be deprioritised. As president of the G7 and COP26, the UK government should be taking a lead on global health, making bold commitments to ensure universal health care for all as a priority, not shying away from it.

Students for Global Health therefore urges the government to rethink its decision to turn its back on its critical manifesto commitment to 0.7%, and to announce when this commitment will be reinstated. Students for Global Health will work with our partners, branches and members to advocate that the government’s decision making prioritises the world’s poorest, and does not turn back on our duty.

For further information, please see the Action for Global Health Statement, which Students for Global Health contributed to: Our statement on the UK’s Spending Review Announcement | Action for Global Health

Global Health equity cannot be achieved without investment and politicial leadership, both of which the government turns away from by cutting the aid budget. I support @WeAreSfGH’s statement: