Boris Johnson with US President Joe Biden today at the G7 summit in Cornwall (Image: REUTERS)
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Boris Johnson today claimed the lives of a billion children would be transformed by less than eight pence a year each.
The Prime Minister announced £430million for kids' education overseas to help youngsters abroad recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
Downing Street said “over one billion children in the world’s poorest countries will see a transformation in their educational opportunities”.
But the money will be spread over five years in 90 countries which are home to 1.1 billion children – working out at just 43p per child.
Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey said: “Today’s promise by Boris Johnson amounts to just eight pence per child per year in new funding – it is totally derisory.
Children collect stagnant water for use at home in Glen View, Harare, in 2008
"If the Prime Minister really does take global education seriously, he needs to start putting his money where his mouth is.”
Speaking after world leaders discussed education at the G7 summit in Carbis Bay, the PM, who as Foreign Secretary made educating girls abroad a top priority, urged counterparts to back a plan for every girl in the world to receive 12 years of education.
Mr Johnson said: “I am calling on other world leaders, including those here at the G7, to also donate and put us firmly on a path to get more girls into the classroom, address the terrible setback to global education caused by coronavirus and help the world build back better.”
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The announcement came as the UK and Kenya prepare to co-host next month's Global Education Summit in London.
Plan International UK chief executive Rose Caldwell said the cash the PM announced “falls short of the leadership we would expect from the UK as it prepares to co-host the Global Education Summit”.
One campaign head of advocacy Lis Wallace said the pledge “falls short of what’s expected of the summit co-host, so it must be the preface of the story, not the conclusion”.
After flying into today’s Cornwall summit on a jet, the Prime Minister said the leaders were “united in our vision for a cleaner, greener world.”
He added: “We need to make sure we don’t repeat some of the errors that we have made in the course of the last 18 months or so and we put in place what is needed to allow our economies to recover.
Boris Johnson greeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel ahead of today's session
“They have the potential to bounce back very strongly and we have all sorts of reasons to be optimistic, but it is vital that we don’t repeat the mistakes of the last great crisis, the last big economic recession of 2008 when the recovery was not uniform across all part of society.
“What’s gone wrong with this pandemic, what risks being a lasting scar, is the inequalities that have been entrenched.
“We need to make sure that as we recover, we level up across our societies – we need to build back better.”