UK Markets closed

Tony Blair urges UK to use international aid cash to boost global Covid-19 vaccination effort

Nicholas Cecil
·2-min read
<p>In an interview with <a href=

In an interview with

Evening Standard editor Emily Sheffield, Blair was asked if aid budgets should be repackaged

(Evening Standard)" />

Britain should repurpose its aid funding to countries to help them combat Covid-19, Tony Blair urged today.

The former prime minister stressed that the UK should be “doing everything we can” to boost coronavirus jab roll-outs around the world.

In an interview with Evening Standard editor Emily Sheffield, he was asked if aid budgets should be repackaged for the next year or so to help vaccinate people. “Absolutely, we should be doing everything we can to help countries,” he said.

He stressed that he was “never in favour of cutting” Britain’s aid budget from 0.7 per cent of national income to 0.5, adding: “We have a massive interest in the world getting vaccinated.” In the interview for the Evening Standard’s London Rising online events to spur on the capital’s recovery from the pandemic Mr Blair also:

* Challenged leaders of the G7 group of wealthy nations (the US, UK, Japan, Germany, Italy, France and Canada) to unite the world to get it vaccinated within eight months and to set up a global Covid variant tracking system.

* Hailed London as the “greatest capital city on earth” but warned it faces a bigger challenge post-pandemic than at any time in its recent history.

Evening Standard
Evening Standard

* Urged whoever wins the next mayoral race to concentrate on crime, housing, transport, the post-Covid recovery and “making sure London comes together in a good way”.

* Told of his “optimism” that by this time next year, people will be able to enjoy a “new normal”, provided no vaccine-busting coronavirus variants spread.

* Believes people in the UK will back Covid vaccination certificates for domestic use, saying: “If they think it’s your passport to get out and be more free they’ll think, well, we’ll go ahead and do it.”

* Explained how the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change has grown to more than 300 people in around 30 countries, adding: “I’m just going to carry on doing what I’m doing but I’m one of these restless people, I’m never really satisfied so contentment is not my natural disposition.”

Register for London Rising here

Read More

Blair doubts Scots still want independence referendum, even if SNP win majority

Boris Johnson urged to ‘step up’ for Northern Ireland

Johnson to set up new No 10 delivery unit to drive policy agenda

How to style 5 key pieces from the BOSS x Russell Athletic collection