IT is very sad that Chancellor Rishi Sunak yesterday decided to cut Britain's overseas aid budget, and it looks like there will be a Conservative revolt against the move - but in the country, it probably has a fair degree of support.

Those against the cut point out that it ruins the reputation of Britain – post-Brexit, we are supposed to be a "global" nation and yet here we are turning in on ourselves – and of the Conservative Party, which had the 0.7 per cent spend of national income as a manifesto commitment. The opponents say Britain's money has never been needed more as poorer countries are ravaged by the pandemic, and the £4bn cut will cost 100,000 preventable lives. They also say this cut in charitable spending is completely the wrong message to send to the British people who themselves need to keep supporting charities at this time.

Yet there is also merit in Mr Sunak's argument. We are experiencing the worse annual economic decline for 300 years - exceptional times. In 2019, only Norway, Denmark and Luxembourg contributed more than the UK, and the 0.5 per cent we give away next year will still be more than most countries, including France, the US, Italy, Japan and Canada.

Perhaps the opponents should ensure that Mr Sunak's cut really is "temporary" and it is restored as soon as the pandemic passes.