UK Government must increase overseas aid spending to fight coronavirus - World Vision

Over half of UK adults support increased overseas aid spending to tackle coronavirus

British people are largely supportive of the UK Government spending more on overseas aid to combat Covid-19 as fears abound of a second wave, a World Vision poll has found. 

The survey found that three quarters of UK adults (77%) are concerned about a second wave in the next six months. 

Despite challenges at home, over half (54%) of the 2,073 respondents were supportive of the UK Government increasing overseas aid spending to tackle Covid-19 around the world. 

Even more adults (84%) believe that life in the UK will only return to normal once Covid-19 is brought under control across the world. 

World Vision UK head of policy Gareth Wallace said: "Our survey shows that most people in the UK want the government to increase aid spending to tackle the global coronavirus pandemic, not reduce it.

"They are worried about new waves of covid-19 and they know that coronavirus must be stamped out around the world before life can return to normal in the UK.

"A coronavirus outbreak in any part of the world puts us all in danger. If the disease is not eradicated, it will pose a perpetual threat to the world's poorest people and those living in wealthy countries alike. Defeating it depends on reaching the most vulnerable communities in every country." 

World Vision has warned that a shortfall in funding for global efforts to tackle Covid-19 may lead to more deadly waves of the virus for the foreseeable future. 

It predicts that as many as 1.6 billion worldwide could die in a second wave unless governments take urgent steps now to protect vulnerable communities and prevent new outbreaks. 

A UN appeal to fight Covid-19 in countries afflicted by poverty has raised only a fifth of its intended goal, with $6.5bn still lacking. 

World Vision is urging leaders to ensure that the UN Global Humanitarian Response Plan is fully funded. 

Wallace said: "The world is facing its worst crisis for generations. Yet the global fight against coronavirus is woefully underfunded.

"All of our lives have been turned upside down by the pandemic. But the world's poorest are hit hardest by lockdowns, barriers to education, economic recessions, and struggling health systems."

He went on to call on governments to support measures to mitigate the negative impacts of lockdowns by providing nutritious food, cash and vouchers for women and children, and safeguarding the supply of essential goods and services. 

The UK's Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) this week pledged £119m to help poor countries address coronavirus and famine. 

Wallace said it was vital that the FCDO scale up support for health and care services in developing countries, with a particular focus on preventing and containing outbreaks in overcrowded slums, refugee camps, and conflict and disaster zones.

He added: "We're not safe anywhere until the virus is under control everywhere."