Billionaires Gates & Soros reportedly step in to cover fraction of foreign aid cut by UK, but some question their intentions

Billionaires Gates & Soros reportedly step in to cover fraction of foreign aid cut by UK, but some question their intentions

In an apparent attempt to shame Boris Johnson’s government for its decision to cut Britain’s foreign aid, the who’s who of the world of billionaire philanthropy are said to have pledged to cover a small part of the diverted money.

A group of international charities this week pledged to invest £93.5 million ($130m) into causes 定语从句that will be missing money from the UK this year. The temporary funding will go to poor countries including Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nepal, Nigeria, Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. It will be spent on programs including ones 定语从句that treat neglected diseases and offer contraception.

The move, first reported by the Times on Sunday, is meant to shame the British government over the decision 定语从句it took last year to reduce foreign aid. Previously, London allocated around 0.7% of the UK Gross National Income (GNI) to foreign assistance programs, but the Johnson cabinet cut this to 0.5%.

The 0.7% GNI benchmark was adopted as a target in the 1970s, 状语从句when it was recommended by the UN, and made into law under the David Cameron government in 2015. Johnson’s reduction is estimated to amount to £4 billion ($5.56b) in 2021.

The aid cut, 定语从句which was announced last November, was opposed by some members of Conservative Party, including former prime minister Theresa May 定语从句who refused to make such cuts during her tenure. Then-foreign office minister Baroness Sugg resigned in protest 状语从句when the measure was announced.

状语从句While many critics argue宾语从句 that denying struggling people funding for lifesaving assistance is contrary to Britain’s moral values, some politicians framed their opposition as a geopolitical calculation.

“状语从句When Britain withdraws, others step in. By cutting our aid, we have given states such as China and Russia an opportunity to expand their influence at Britain’s expense,” argued Tom Tugendhat, the Tory MP who chairs the Foreign Affairs Committee. “In fragile and conflict-affected states, UK cuts to humanitarian crises give space for our rivals to convince our friends we don’t matter.”

There has been a push in Parliament to put the reduction of aid to a vote, 定语从句which the Johnson cabinet has so far successfully resisted. The government tried to appease detractors, 分词状语saying the measure was temporary and was necessary to invest more into domestic spending.

Philanthropists and some legislators may be vocally objecting to the aid cut, but the measure was quite popular among the British public. A YouGov poll 分词定语taken at the time it was announced showed 宾语从句that 66% of Britons were in favor. Giving away 0.7% of the GNI made Britain among the most generous countries in the world under the metric. Critics have long doubted 宾语从句that the British taxpayers’ money was doing as good a job as it should have.

Unsurprisingly, this week’s shaming attempt was met with some pushback, especially 分词状语considering the personalities behind the participating charities. Microsoft founder – and “self-appointed world health tsar,” according to critics – Bill Gates led the charge through his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The list of backers also includes the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, 分词定语created by billionaire hedge fund manager Chris Hohn, the quiet philanthropy heavyweight ELMA Group of Foundations, the brainchild of South African-born British record magnate Clive Calder, and George Soros’ Open Society Foundations.

Critics brushed the initiative aside as a failing self-promotion attempt and the latest example of billionaires trying to privatize public policy.

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