WaterAid statement on ‘savage’ cuts to UK Aid for clean water, hygiene and sanitation in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic

27 April 2021
WaterAid/ Joey Lawrence

Responding to a leaked Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office briefing which shows that overall UK Aid spending on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) will be cut by 64% in 21/22 compared to 2019, and that bilateral (country to country) spending on WASH will be cut by at least 80%, taking spending from £150 million to £30 million, Chief Executive of WaterAid, Tim Wainwright, said:

“There is never a good time to cut aid for lifesaving water and sanitation but the middle of the worst pandemic for 100 years must be one of the worst.

“What is even more incredible is that these savage cuts to the funding of water and sanitation, which are the first line of defence against the twin threats of COVID-19 and the impacts of climate change in the world’s poorest countries, should happen just months ahead of the G7 and COP26 climate summits at which the UK is wanting to demonstrate global leadership.

“The Prime Minister has promised to focus on the ‘people’s priorities’ and yet we know there is enormous support for funding in this sector among the UK taxpayers who have helped to bring clean water, good hygiene, and better sanitation to 62 million people in the last five years.

“If 80% of bilateral programmes are cut, a staggering 10 million people stand to lose out on gaining access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene facilities this year.

“These cuts must be reversed at the earliest possible opportunity.”


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