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Overseas Aid returns £1m to support coronavirus response

The OA&DC has agreed to provide additional support to the States of Guernsey’s Covid 19 response.

The Large Grants and Small Grants programmes for 2021 projects are being suspended, and the Overseas Aid & Development Commission is discussing with charities it supports, how much of their planned 2020 overseas work is affected by coronavirus restrictions in place in other countries.

The OA&DC anticipates this will mean at least £1m of the 2020 budget will be unspent and can be returned to General Revenue to support the States’ coronavirus response.

The OA&DC will continue with its normal approach to Emergency Relief funding, which has a budget of £350,000 this year.

Deputy Emilie McSwiggan, President of the Overseas Aid & Development Commission, said: “The Commission has, with regret, taken the decision to suspend our normal funding rounds for the time being. We recognise that the effect of coronavirus around the world means it will not be possible, for at least the next few months, to safely deliver many of the programmes we usually support. And, locally, the crisis has put enormous pressure on the public sector, and we’ve all had to consider scaling back business as usual so we can free people up to support the pandemic response.

“What we do want to emphasise is that this should not change the States’ commitment to providing aid and support for international development in the long term. The coronavirus has shown just how connected a world we are, and helping other countries to recover will also benefit our own Bailiwick. But while it’s not possible to do our usual work safely and effectively, we are glad to be able to support the local effort to address the crisis.”

Deputy Gavin St Pier, the P&R President thanked Deputy McSwiggan for returning the sum to general revenue and said: "This proactive and responsible approach is greatly appreciated during such unprecedented times which will undoubtedly have significant economic and financial impacts.

"States expenditure is increasing rapidly in a number of areas as a result of responding to the impact and implications of Coronavirus. As you are no doubt aware, the volume and value of income support payments to members of our community have increased considerably recently and budget returned from the Commission will offset part of the resulting unbudgeted expenditure pressure."

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