TORY MPs’ pleas to reverse foreign aid cuts would slap a penny on income tax for every Brit, a top Treasury boss warned rebels last night.
Steve Barclay claimed the Treasury had to slash aid to help pay back the £352BILLION Covid debt mountain this year, but vowed that aid spending would go back up.
Steve Barclay is the Chief Secretary to the Treasury[/caption]
Britain is one of the largest aid spenders in the world, but has suspended plans to spend 0.7 per cent of GDP on overseas help this year.
Fuming MPs lined up in the Commons to lash ministers for breaking promises, and said the cuts were “unforgivable”, “un-British” and “unethical”.
The Chief Secretary to the Treasury said it was a “difficult” decision to make but that ministers had to start to try to balance the books to pay for the billions of pounds splashed out on Covid.
Speaking to MPs in the Commons yesterday, he claimed that spending would have to be slashed or the equivalent of slapping another penny on income tax, if MPs were to win in their bid to splurge more money.
He said: “For now, the tough choice is the right choice.”
Ex-PM Theresa May savaged ministers over their “devastating” decisions and warned it would not only cost lives but would put children in harm’s way.
She blasted: “The damage it does to our reputation means that it will be far harder for us as a country to argue for change that we want internationally, that is across the board, including at Cop26 and also including setting out and putting into place the ambitions of the Integrated Review.”
Last night Downing Street stressed the Government was acting lawfully but indicated it wouldn’t cave in to demands from rebels for a vote.
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A group of 30-strong Tories say they have the numbers to defeat the Government if they can force a binding vote.
A No10 spokesperson said yesterday: “We are acting in accordance with the Act as set out. It explicitly envisages the circumstances which we now face, which is this global pandemic.
“There are certainly no plans to bring forward a vote.”