Sunday 18 August 2019

Sir Elton John welcomes £1.4bn funding pledge to combat Aids

Theresa May has promised £1.4 billion over three years to tackle Aids, malaria and tuberculosis.

Sir Elton thanked the UK Government for its commitment (Matt Crossick/PA)
Sir Elton thanked the UK Government for its commitment (Matt Crossick/PA)

By David Hughes, PA Political Editor, Osaka

Sir Elton John has welcomed a Government commitment to spend £1.4 billion on tackling Aids, malaria and tuberculosis.

The Rocket Man singer, who set up the Elton John Aids Foundation to fight the disease, said the UK’s pledge set an “extraordinary example for others to follow”.

Prime Minister Theresa May set out the commitment to spend an average of £467 million a year in support for the Global Fund.

The three-year funding pledge from the UK’s aid budget follows a plea from the Global Fund for an £11 billion cash injection.

The pledge we are making today will save millions of lives and help to build a healthier and more prosperous world – and that is firmly in our national interest Theresa May

Mrs May called on other leaders at the G20 summit in Osaka to commit cash to the fund to combat Aids, malaria and TB.

She said: “We need urgent international action and a truly collective response if we are to tackle threats to global health security, prevent infections spreading across borders, and halt the continued spread of deadly diseases.”

Calling on fellow G20 leaders to act, she said: “Not only do these diseases cause untold suffering to those who fall ill, they hold back whole countries’ development.

“I am deeply proud of the leading role the UK plays in international development and the life-saving impact of our aid spending.

“The pledge we are making today will save millions of lives and help to build a healthier and more prosperous world – and that is firmly in our national interest.”

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French President Emmanuel Macron and Sir Elton John called for extra cash for the Global Fund (Lewis Joly/AP)

The commitment comes a week after Sir Elton teamed up with France’s Emmanuel Macron to call for extra funding to tackle the three diseases.

Sir Elton, whose foundation partners with the Global Fund to provide treatment and support around the world, said: “Last week in Paris, President Macron and I called on the world to support replenishment of the Global Fund for Aids, TB and malaria.

“It is with profound respect that I thank the UK Government for today’s historic pledge to help do just that.”

Romilly Greenhill, director of the ONE Campaign, which works to fight extreme poverty and preventable disease, said: “This bold pledge is something that everyone in the UK should be truly proud of, and will play a key role in the fight against HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria. Britain’s continued support will help save two million lives.

“This is a great example of the UK playing a key role on the world stage. These diseases, the worst killers in human history, can be eradicated for good – but only if the world rises to this challenge – so the strong leadership being shown by the UK is absolutely vital.

“Investing in the Global Fund is in everyone’s interest. It not only helps protect people at risk from these three diseases, but is also good for UK taxpayers who benefit from living in a healthier, fairer and safer world.”

PA Media

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