Sunday, April 03, 2016

International Aid. Is 0.7 right?

The UK commits 0.7% of GDP to International Aid. Not only was it a manifesto commitment by the Conservative Party, but towards the end of the last Parliament, a large majority of MPs across all political parties voted in support of Michael Moore's Private Member's Bill to make it law. I voted in support of the new law, even though I would have preferred the legal commitment to be "up to 0.7%". Would have preferred it to be a limit on spending rather than a target for spending. May seem a bit pedantic, and may not have made much difference. But the principle would have been important. We would have been (as we should be) responding to genuine need rather than looking for projects to spend on.

Anyway, I voted for the current law. In general I believe International Aid to be both in the interests of our country as well as the right thing to do. The Mail on Sunday does not agree. And lots of others don't either. I suspect a majority of the UK public do not agree. But it is a manifesto commitment. I stood on platforms in the General Election campaign and declared my support quite forcibly. I know circumstances change over time, and politicians have to react. But I don't feel it right to renege on a promise so forcibly made just one year ago. Wonder what readers of this blog will think!


Robin Larder said...

Far better to spend foreign aid on making sure the refugee camps are capable of receiving and properly caring for refugees closer to where they come from than encouraging them to make an extremely dangerous trip and spend what money they have paying off people smugglers and, if they live, spending far more on doing what is necessary when they make the trip into Europe.

Glyn Davies said...

I think quite a lot of the Foreign Aid budget is spent on helping refugees. Not sure how much, but we do know that the UK invests more aid than rest of EU put together. Lot of sympathy with their view though Robin.

Glyn Davies said...

After media comment over the weekend led to a question on my Facebook page, I read the Mail on Sunday. Don't think I've ever read such misleading journalism. It may well be than provisional out-turn figures may be £172 million over budget. If the provisional figures are confirmed, I'd expect spending to be reduced to take account of over-spend. It's what happens with all budgets. It's actually about 1%. It's extraordinary to describe this as extraordinary. Should also note that the "Governmen't's decision" also happens to be the law of the land, passed by the UK Parliament last year. And the reference to "highest ever figure" is as daft as it is inevitable. The law requires that every year will be 'highest ever' unless the law is changed or the UK economy shrinks! This MoS report does not increase pressure on Sajid Javid. Bit of exaggerated self importance I'd say. And why on earth should Justine Greening, a Sec of State who is the thick of the refugee crisis, answer 10 questions from a newspaper which would probably misrepresent her responses. She wisely gave them a statement of the position instead.
None of this is to justify any wasteful spending. There should be none. And if there was a vote about reducing the '0.7% target" to "Up to a 0.7% target", I would think that very sensible.

RedMaggs said...

The Fail on Sunday is always like that as is The Daily Fail - they mislead people all the time

It is a Conservative Paper - holds racist views and has donated £30k to the Conservatives in the past

This is the paper that has brought about scroungers and hate crimes against the disabled - so now I know why you had no idea about such phrases previously - it along the the Sun and the Telegraph are biased and print lies all the time