Thank you to everyone who has contacted me about the UK’s commitment to global nutrition. Despite the huge advances we have seen in agriculture, food science and distribution, it should, in my view, be a source of shame to the global community, including this country, that so many people around the World continue to go hungry.
As you say, the UK Government has reduced aid spending, moving the legally binding target of spending from 0.7% of gross national income each calendar year to 0/5%, despite a clear manifesto pledge to maintain this commitment. I opposed this reduction, I voted against it, and I share the concerns you raise about the impact it is having on nutrition programmes and our ability to tackle global poverty. Some programmes have had their funding reduced by as much as 80%. The Opposition has argued there should be a continuation of nutrition finance at previous levels at least through to 2022, to ensure that there is not a cliff edge in funding at the end of this year.
As a country, I believe we should be doing what we can to meet our commitment to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. This means the UK Government should renew and expand its nutrition commitments at the crucial Nutrition for Growth summit in Japan in December this year, leading the way for other countries. The international community must also come together to tackle the root causes behind the lack of access to nutritious food. In the aftermath of COVID-19, I believe that if we work together to fight malnutrition in this way, we can also be better prepared for any future pandemics.
In 2021, nobody should be hungry or malnourished. I can assure you I will continue to support calls for the UK Government to provide more support for nutrition specific programmes. Thank you once again for contacting me about this important issue.