Residents will be aware that this week MPs voted to temporarily restrict spending on foreign aid. This now means that the UK's foreign aid spending will be reduced from 0.7 per cent to 0.5 per cent of the UK's Gross National Income. I know that this is an emotive topic and I wanted to explain why I voted for this temporary restriction on foreign aid spending.
We are facing one of the most significant economic challenges in our history due to the recent pandemic and it is important that we make sure we are managing our economy and spending in the right places. I firmly believe that charity begins at home and during this period of recovery, it is important that we see investment into Stoke-on-Trent first. Our city has lacked the investment it really needed for decades. I am focussed on levelling up our area and ensuring people have as many opportunities available to them as possible. It doesn't seem right to me that during these hard times we are sending billions abroad when we could be investing that money into places like Stoke-on-Trent.
The language used by some would suggest that the UK is abandoning our allies abroad and our generosity has disappeared. This is not correct. The UK will still remain one of the most significant donors overseas in the world and we will see more than £10 billion being spent in 2021 alone. UK tax payers should not be made to feel guilty by investing more money at home during a crisis.
It must be remembered that in order for the UK to financially help others, we must have a strong economy. If we are not sensible with our spending and allow our economy to crash, then we will not have the funds to offer help. This is why I am pushing for investment at home and into Stoke-on-Trent. With a strong local economy, we will be able to offer the opportunities to build skills, enhance careers, improve local business, ensure the success of the Potteries and more.
I hope that this helps make clear the reason for my position on foreign aid spending. I know that many residents will agree that charity begins at home and I will always to fight to ensure that we get that investment into Stoke-on-Trent.