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Aid should help the poorest alarm

A letter in the Guardian, Easter Sunday, from faith leaders


As people of faith, our values compel us to speak out for the world’s most vulnerable people. We have come together ahead of the comprehensive spending review to urge the government to maintain the aid budget and protect the quality of UK aid.

In 2015, faith communities were proud of the UK’s commitment to the sustainable development goals. We must keep our promise to the world’s poorest. We believe that Britain has a moral responsibility to continue to provide 0.7% of gross national income in aid, and to influence other governments to do likewise. While the world has seen unprecedented progress in tackling extreme poverty, there is still a long way to go to meet the sustainable development goals by 2030. The UK has a proud record of supporting international development and is well respected around the world. It is critical that we continue this leadership and generosity.

We also are extremely concerned to ensure that the primary focus of British aid remains poverty alleviation and that we deliver the highest quality aid programmes to the world’s most vulnerable people. We add our voices to many in asking for reassurances that the government will prioritise providing aid to the least developed countries, ensuring the proportion they receive is protected from further decline. British aid programmes should prioritise vital social sectors such as health and education, promote gender equality, protect the environment and support local solutions to build capacity and increase sustainability. To have confidence that aid is being spent effectively, we also need to know what the government is doing in our name. All aid programmes should be fully transparent and accountable.

We pray to the government that its discernment and compassion for the poorest and most marginalised will guide its work.


Right Rev Paul Butler, bishop of Durham
Right Rev Susan Brown, moderator of the general assembly of the Church of Scotland
Harun Khan, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Great Britain
Rabbi Robyn Ashworth-Steen, Manchester Reform Synagogue
Shoshana Boyd Gelfand, J Hub director
Arshad Duad, vice-chairman Balham Mosque and Tooting Islamic Centre
Abdulkarim Gheewala, chair, Federation of Muslim Organisations Leicestershire
Rabbi Aaron Goldstein, senior rabbi, Northwood and Pinner Liberal Synagogue, chair, Conference of Liberal Rabbis and Cantors
Lynne Green, general secretary of the Baptist Union
Pete Greig, international director of 24-7 Prayer International and senior pastor of Emmaus Road, Guildford
Paul Harcourt, national leader of New Wine
Kamran Hussain, Green Lane Masjid & Community Centre
Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, senior rabbi to Reform Judaism
Rabbi Dr Deborah Kahn-Harris, principal of Leo Baeck College
Rabbi Lea Muhlstein, Northwood and Pinner Liberal Synagogue
Rabbi Jeffrey Newman, emeritus rabbi, Finchley Reform Synagogue
Rabbi Danny Rich, senior rabbi and chief executive of Liberal Judaism
Rev Canon David Richards, rector of St Paul’s and St George’s (Edinburgh)
Rabbi Sylvia Rothschild, past chair of the Assembly of Reform Rabbis
Mufti Shahbaz, Blackhall Mosque, Edinburgh
Rabbi Dr Jackie Tabick, convener of the beit din, Reform Judaism
Right Rev Ric Thorpe, bishop of Islington
Rev Nigel Uden, moderator of the general assembly of the United Reformed Church
Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, senior rabbi of Masorti Judaism UK
Rev Michaela A Youngson, president of the Methodist Conference
Muslim Council of Scotland
Tzelem, the Rabbinic Call for Social and Economic Justice in the UK
Birmingham Central Mosque 

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