Chief executives of the UK's largest faith-based international development agencies have come together to condemn the government's decision to merge the Department for International Development with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, raising concerns the move will impact on the UK's ability to support the world's most vulnerable people. In a joint statement, they said:
"The abolition of DFID is a political move, and the world's most vulnerable people will pay the highest price.
"A global pandemic the likes of which we've not seen in our lifetime is tearing through the world's poorest communities, threatening to reverse decades of development gains. UK Aid is more critical than ever, and it's essential to ensure the focus remains on fighting poverty and reaching those in greatest need.
"The Prime Minister has made clear his intention to use aid to further Britain's national interests - a clear violation of the primary purpose of aid which is to alleviate poverty. This will blunt the impact of aid on those most in need, and risks more people suffering and dying as a result.
"As people of faith and leaders of organisations which seek to lift up the hungry, the poor and the oppressed, we stand against this act of injustice. We have a moral and ethical duty to neighbours near and far. History will not look kindly on the UK's retreat into narrow self-interest."
Alistair Dutton, Chief Executive of Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund
Amanda Khozi Mukwashi, Chief Executive of Christian Aid
Christine Allen, Director of CAFOD
Mark Sheard, CEO of World Vision UK
Nigel Harris, CEO of Tearfund
Peter Waddup, CEO of The Leprosy Mission England and Wales
Tufail Hussain, Director of Islamic Relief UK