Rishi Sunak’s plan to cut billions more from overseas aid attacked by advisers

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Rishi Sunak’s plan to cut billions from foreign aid in next week’s spending review has been attacked by the government’s own climate crisis advisers.

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The expected move – which would come on top of the current £4bn-a-year shortfall – risks failure at next month’s crucial Cop 26 summit where confidence in the UK is of “critical importance”, he says.

It will show Britain is not “serious” in helping to protect the world’s poorest countries from the devastating effects of global warming, warns a letter to Boris Johnson.

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It has been sent by a panel called Friends of COP – appointed by summit chairman Alok Sharma – to advise the government and boasts of experienced climate experts from around the world.

Mr Sunak is believed to be planning a number of “accounting tricks” that would further reduce UK money spent on humanitarian and development aid.

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The foreign currency handouts from the International Monetary Fund – known as Special Drawing Rights – will be counted as aid to help developing countries deal with Covid.

The same switch is likely to be made on the cost of delivering Covid vaccines to developing countries and part of the aid may be shifted from day-to-day spending budgets to “capital” budgets.

The Center for Global Development think tank said the changes, if all made together, could reduce the Foreign Office’s discretionary aid budget from £8bn to £2bn.

Now the letter threatens major embarrassment for the prime minister, who is already grappling with fears that Cop26 will fail to reach an agreement to halt catastrophic climate change.

Seen by the BBC, it read: “As ‘Friends of the COP’ we are writing to you to express our deep concern at the prospect of further cuts in UK aid in the last few days ahead of COP26.

“The UK’s ability to act as a genuine, reliable partner for developing countries is critical to the success of COP26.

“Further cuts in foreign aid to the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) will send a signal that the UK is neither committed, nor serious about, enabling a greener global recovery from the pandemic, nor will those most vulnerable to climate change.” Improving the resilience of change.”

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Credit: www.independent.co.uk /

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