The IRC UK's Executive Director Melanie Ward remarks on the UK government's decision to cut the aid budget:

"It is deeply disappointing that the government has chosen to end the UK's global leadership on overseas aid in the middle of a pandemic.

"Today's decision will have real consequences for those on the frontline of the fight to keep COVID at bay in places without fully-functioning health systems and where the economic shock of the pandemic has created a new global hunger crisis that could see 91 million more people go hungry this year alone.

"Today's announcement is in stark contrast with the optimism of Monday's news of a new vaccine. These are exceptional times that require exceptional leadership, yet the Chancellor has kicked the ladder from under those living in the worst situations imaginable just as the UK gets a foothold on the path to recovery.

"I hope today's decision is a temporary one and that tomorrow the Foreign Secretary will confirm the government's intention to legislate for a return to the 0.7% target next year."