“[The] 0.7 percent is a manifesto commitment that is written in law… The Prime Minister has been clear he wants aid to be at the beating heart of our foreign policy.”

Dominic Raab, Foreign Office meeting

September 2, 2020

Facts

Dominic Raab told Foreign Office officials at an all-staff meeting on September 2nd 2020 that the government would not reduce the UK’s aid budget from 0.7% of national income. He said: “[The] 0.7 percent is a manifesto commitment that is written in law… The Prime Minister has been clear he wants aid to be at the beating heart of our foreign policy.”

In November 2020 the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a temporary reduction in the UK’s aid budget from 0.7% to 0.5% of national income as part of the Spending Review.

Verdict

The Foreign Secretary’s promise on behalf of the Prime Minister was broken. Dominic Raab, like many others, was paying the price for believing an assurance made by Boris Johnson. His dramatic metaphor about the “beating heart of our foreign policy” served only to highlight the hollowness of the pledge. This is another example of a phenomenon which will recur in this website time and again: cabinet ministers making false statements after being misled by Prime Minister Boris Johnson. 

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