Bill Gates Demands United Kingdom Reverse Foreign Aid Cuts, Send Corona Vax Abroad

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 18: American businessman and philanthropist Bill Gates makes a speech at the Malaria Summit at 8 Northumberland Avenue on April 18, 2018 in London, England. The Malaria Summit is being held today to urge Commonwealth leaders to commit to halve cases of malaria across the Commonwealth …
Jack Taylor/Getty Images

Microsoft founder Bill Gates called on the British government to restore its foreign aid budget on Sunday, saying that it is of “critical importance” that the British taxpayer ship money to foreign countries.

Speaking to the Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme, the billionaire philanthropist called on the UK government to ramp back up foreign aid spending and to address the “not fair” situation where younger people in richer nations are getting corona vaccines before older people in poorer nations.

In November, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced that the government enact a modest and indeed temporarily reduction in foreign subsidies, taking spending on the aid budget from 0.7 per cent of GDP to 0.5 per cent, representing a £5 billion cut.

Mr Gates said this should be reversed as soon as possible, telling Sky News: “The quicker the UK can get its aid budget back up to 0.7 per cent, the better.”

“The needs there are dramatic. The voters there should be very proud of the impact that [UK aid] has. It’s been the strongest proponent getting behind vaccines and making sure we eradicate polio.

“And with the cutbacks, we won’t be able to do as much so I hope that gets restored because it is of critical importance.”

Gates also urged Western powers such as Britain and the United States to start shipping vaccine supplies to developing nations.

Gates said that it is “not completely surprising” that wealthier nations focussed on inoculating their elderly populations, saying that richer nations “actually had the pandemic worse than most of the developing countries, that was a good thing.”

However, he said that it is “not fair” that people in their 30s are currently being vaccinated while elderly people in poorer countries go without.

“The fact that now we’re vaccinating 30-year-olds in the UK and the US and we don’t have all the 60-year-olds in Brazil and South Africa (vaccinated), that’s not fair, but within three or four months the vaccine allocation will be getting to all the countries that have the very severe epidemic,” he said.

This statement backs up calls from the recently installed and Chinese Communist Party-backed head of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who said in February that the UK and other rich nations should donate vaccines to poorer countries, even before their own populations had a chance to take the jab.

Mr Gates, who has been at the forefront during the Chinese coronavirus crisis, said that he is hopeful that the world may return “completely back to normal” by the end of 2022, claiming that vaccines will drive down the virus to “very small numbers”.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.