This afternoon parliament is expected to vote on proposals to stop a major cut to the aid budget, which the government claims it has to do for financial reasons. Last year the government announced a £16 billion increase to the military budget.
If the cut goes ahead then one country that is likely to be particularly affected is Yemen. Since the ongoing war began in 2015, the UK has licensed at least £6.8 billion worth of fighter jets, bombs and missiles to the Saudi Arabian regime, which has led the brutal bombardment.
The UN food relief agency has warned that over half the Yemen population is facing acute food shortages “with millions knocking on the door of famine.” The UK is the ‘penholder’ for Yemen on the UN Security Council.
Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade said: “We hope that parliament votes to stop this cut, but it should never have come to this. The decision to reduce aid spending at the same time as boosting what was already one of the world’s biggest military budgets exposes the disgraceful and dangerous priorities of Downing Street.
If the cut goes ahead, it could have dire consequences for people around the world, particularly those in desperate and vulnerable situations. COVID has shown how interconnected our lives are and should have led to a major rethink of the UK’s role on the world stage.
This particularly applies in Yemen, where the UK has armed and supported the brutal Saudi-led bombardment, while cutting aid to people suffering as a result of a terrible humanitarian crisis that Westminster has fuelled and enabled.”