Christian aid organizations in the United Kingdom have voiced their extreme displeasure with the Spring Budget proposed by the United Kingdom's government, prioritizing military funding over humanitarian aid to less developed countries.
Prioritizing Military Spending Over Humanitarian Aid
According to the Vatican News, Catholic aid organizations Cafod and Christian Aid assert that the new budget fails to provide the desperately required funds for developing nations while considerably increasing military spending. The budget that Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt presented to the House of Commons last week includes a commitment to increase the defense budget by £11 billion over the next five years, or nearly 2.25 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) after the UK reduced its overseas aid in 2020 from the UN target of 0.7% to 0.55% of its gross national income (GNI) to free up more funds for domestic spending during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Cafod, the Agency for Overseas Development of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales (CBCEW), it is "unforgivable" to spend an additional £11 billion on the military when millions of people in East Africa face starvation. Neil Thorns, head of advocacy at Cafod, stated, "It is inexcusable for the United Kingdom to decrease its aid budget while the region is experiencing the worst droughts in decades."
Christian Aid, an ecumenical Christian organization that assists impoverished nations, also voiced harsh condemnation. "From war to climate change, the poorest and most vulnerable populations face unprecedented difficulties," Yet again, the budget fails to provide the necessary funds, as stated by Sophie Powell, the charity's chief advocate in the United Kingdom. Not only has the aid fund been depleted and looted by other government agencies, but it has also lost its focus on combating poverty and its causes, as stated.
The comments come in response to an open letter sent to the government on March 14 by the Friends of Cafod All-party Parliamentary Group, which demanded additional action in East Africa, where millions of people are already experiencing crisis-level food insecurity owing to climate change and violence. The affected nations include Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan, and Kenya. The letter emphasized that the United Kingdom's current commitment of £156 million to the region is 80 percent less than during a drought six years ago.
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Britain's Church Aid Organizations
The Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD) is a component of Caritas International and serves as the official Catholic relief agency for England and Wales. By working via the local church, the organization can reach individuals and places other organizations cannot. It stands in solidarity with impoverished communities worldwide, bringing them hope and compassion as they work together to eradicate poverty and injustice. In addition to dealing with urgent matters, they work on long-term development projects.
Moreover, Christian Aid aims to eradicate poverty and injustice across the globe. Their work includes assisting individuals to claim their rights and access services such as healthcare and education, ensuring they are not discriminated against for any reason, becoming more resilient to shocks and disasters such as drought, climate change, and hurricanes, and maximizing opportunities, such as the ability to sell their produce at a fair price.
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