The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands)

Char­i­ties urge PM against merger pro­posal

- BY JEMMA CREW Society · UK News · Politics · Foreign and Commonwealth Office · United Kingdom · Boris Johnson · Group of 7 · Department for International Development · Save the Children · ActionAid

Merg­ing the De­part­ment for In­ter­na­tional Devel­op­ment (Dfid) with the For­eign Of­fice is an “un­nec­es­sary and ex­pen­sive dis­trac­tion” that will di­min­ish the UK’s rep­u­ta­tion, al­most 200 char­i­ties be­lieve.

The gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion to scrap the de­part­ment through the merger sug­gests the UK is turn­ing its back on the world’s poor­est peo­ple, 188 hu­man­i­tar­ian aid and devel­op­ment char­i­ties, NGOs and think tanks said.

The groups, which in­clude Save the Chil­dren UK, Ac­tionAid UK and Tear­fund, have writ­ten to Prime Min­is­ter Boris John­son ask­ing him to ur­gently re­con­sider.

“UK is turn­ing its back on the world’s poor­est peo­ple”

It comes as the head of Save the Chil­dren UK warned the world is on the brink of “po­ten­tially the worst re­ver­sal in progress for chil­dren that we’ve seen since 1945”.

The let­ter reads: “Abol­ish­ing one of the world’s most ef­fec­tive and re­spected gov­ern­ment de­part­ments at a time when the world is in need of global lead­er­ship un­der­mines our re­sponse to Covid-19 and sug­gests the UK is turn­ing its back on the world’s poor­est peo­ple.”

A gov­ern­ment spokeswoma­n said: “As the PM has said, the merger of Dfid and FCO will en­sure that all of our na­tional as­sets – in­clud­ing our aid bud­get and ex­per­tise – are used to safe­guard Bri­tish in­ter­ests and val­ues overseas.

“This will strengthen our abil­ity to lead the world’s ef­forts to re­cover from the coro­n­avirus pan­demic and al­low us to seize the op­por­tu­ni­ties ahead as we pre­pare to take on the G7 pres­i­dency and host COP26.”

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