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The false economy of cutting aid

Cynical penny-pinching will come at a cost, not only for British diplomacy but at the ballot box too

By Rachel Sylvester  

Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak are convinced that slashing the aid budget is popular. Photo: Xinhua / Alamy Stock Photo

Treasury ministers passing Conservative MPs in the corridors at Westminster have started to whisper “18 per cent” quietly in their ears. This is the proportion of voters who believe the government is wrong to cut foreign aid, according to one YouGov poll. The figure for Conservative voters is just 3 per cent, the survey last year found.

Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak are convinced that the decision to temporarily abandon the pledge to spend 0.7 per cent of national income on international aid while dealing with the impact of the coronavirus crisis is popular. The prime minister and…

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