Melanie Ward, UK Executive Director at the International Rescue Committee, says:

“The International Rescue Committee is deeply concerned about the implications of today’s vote. This broken promise means the closure of lifesaving UK funded services in the world’s toughest places, at a time when humanitarian needs are particularly high and millions of people are facing starvation. It will have devastating concrete consequences: children will no longer be able to go to school, marginalised communities will go hungry and lives will be lost. 

“The UK government will spend 40% less on humanitarian aid than before the pandemic, at a time when humanitarian need is 40% higher. The UK is turning its back on people struggling to survive in conflict and disaster affected zones. ‘Global Britain’ cannot hope to be a force for good with such huge cuts.

“We have already seen the impact these cuts have had on our programmes, as thousands of people have been pushed further into hunger and catastrophic crises. As a result of the UK’s cuts, over 97,000 Syrians lost lifesaving support and 100,000 Rohingya refugees are losing access to clean water. 

We would like to thank all the Members of Parliament who stood up for those whose lives depend on these UK funded services. Today’s decision is a sad chapter in the UK's international development legacy; we do not believe it will be the end of the story as to whether the UK lives up to its responsibilities on this issue. ”