One junior minister has resigned and Tory MPs are threatening to rebel over the temporary foreign aid cut. They appear to have forgotten that in 2015 they themselves voted overwhelmingly to allow a one year cut in aid specifically in the circumstances of a substantial change to gross national income.
The response to the pandemic has hit the economy harder than anything, including war, in the last three centuries. The International Development (Official Development Assistance Target) Act 2015 requires the Secretary of State to make a statement to the House of Commons on what steps will be taken in the next year to meet the 0.7% target:
(3) A statement under subsection (1) or (2) must explain why the 0.7% target has not been met in the report year and, if relevant, refer to the effect of one or more of the following—
(a) economic circumstances and, in particular, any substantial change in gross national income;
(b) fiscal circumstances and, in particular, the likely impact of meeting the target on taxation, public spending and public borrowing;
(c) circumstances arising outside the United Kingdom.
(4) A statement under subsection (1) must also describe any steps that the Secretary of State has taken to ensure that the 0.7% target will be met by the United Kingdom in the calendar year following the report year.
(5) In this section “the report year”, in relation to an annual report, means the period of 12 months which is the most recent relevant period, as defined by section 1(2) of the 2006 Act, to which the information included in accordance with paragraph 1(h) of the Schedule to that Act relates.
The pandemic has clearly had relevant and severe impacts on the economy and fiscal circumstances. No specific vote on the matter will be required under the Act, legislation would only be required if they were to extend the waiver beyond a year…