As the Tories cut essential services, put
VAT up and British OAPs freeze to death, they shove this in our faces:
Foreign aid to
increase by 37%: Osborne finds an extra £4bn to help poor
The foreign aid budget will soar by 37 per cent while domestic
spending is being slashed.
Other than tiny increases at health and work and pensions, the
Department for International Development is the only ministry not
suffering cuts of up to 50 per cent.
The UK will become the first country to hit a United Nations
target of donating 0.7 per cent of its national income to the world’s
poor by 2013.
hand: More money will be delivered to the needy, such as these Burmese
refugees in Thailand
But the extra cash poured into foreign assistance – amounting
to nearly £4billion – comes while other departments are facing
The department’s ‘resource’ budget – the amount of money it
has available after capital costs – will grow by 37 per cent from
£6.3billion to £9.4billion.
Critics said it was wrong that poor people in Britain could
suffer to help countries that are becoming increasingly rich.
The review gives more money to poor countries such as Afghanistan
But George Osborne said: ‘Britons can hold their heads up high
and say even in these difficult times, we will honour the promises made
to some of the poorest people on our planet.’
The Chancellor said extra aid would also halve the deaths from
malaria, save the lives of 50,000 pregnant women and 250,000 babies.
Aid funding will also target war zones to help conflict
prevention, with more spending going on Pakistan and Afghanistan.
But aid to relatively prosperous countries such as Russia and
China – the third richest nation on earth in terms of total GDP, which
received £40million from Britain last year – will be halted.
Funds will continue to go to India, which received more than
£295million last year despite having the fourth largest economy
in the world.
The Chancellor added that the aid budget was protected from
cuts, but not from scrutiny. A new quango – the Independent Commission
for Aid Impact – will be set up to monitor the spending of aid.
The rise in the aid budget drew criticism from some
Conservatives and think-tanks.
Philip Davies, Tory MP for Shipley, said: ‘If there isn’t
enough money for domestic priorities, then there isn’t enough money to
‘We should concentrate on making sure existing aid money is
better spent and we need to be careful that we do not have poor people
at home funding rich people abroad.
aid: Trucks carry 100 tons of flour into North Korea to help flood
‘The Government would be better off cutting aid budgets abroad
to ensure people can stand on their own two feet, while arguing for
America and the European Union to cut subsidies to their own farmers
and industries which hurt the developing world.’
Sam Bowman, head of research at the Adam Smith Institute, said
the increase in aid spending beggared belief at a time when police,
universities and the armed forces were being cut back.
He said: ‘Overseas aid is a waste of taxpayers’ money that
props up dictatorships in sub-Saharan Africa and funds fast-growing
countries like India, whose economy has grown by nearly 8.8 per cent in
2010 and which has its own space and nuclear weapons programmes.
‘Why the Chancellor thinks that the taxpayer should fund the
Indian space programme is unclear. At a time when the British
Government is cutting spending domestically it makes no sense to
increase overseas aid spending.’
at home but help abroad: Chancellor George Osborne delivers the
Comprehensive Spending Review
But charities backed the move. Phil Bloomer of Oxfam said Mr
Osborne and David Cameron deserved real credit for sticking to their
He said: ‘The coalition has taken the tough choice to
prioritise the poorest people on the planet during the bad times as
well as good.’
Paul Cook, advocacy director at aid charity Tearfund, said:
‘This is clearly a moral obligation, especially at this time of global
economic hardship, and we hope that the rest of the world will follow
the UK’s lead.’
Patrick Watt, Save the Children’s director of development,
said: ‘What is the real driver of aid allocation? Is it poverty, is it
need and the ability to use money effectively or is it the agenda of
the National Security Council?
‘We do need to have a balanced approach to aid allocation that
reflects the principles of the 2002 International Development Act which
stipulates that all aid should be for poverty reduction
‘One of the concerns is that the countries that will lose out
will be poor but stable countries like Ghana or Tanzania that will
potentially see a slight reduction in aid but almost certainly won’t
see any increase.
‘You will end up in a slightly perverse situation, if we’re
not careful, where countries with a lot of poor people that happen not
to be on the geopolitical radar are losing out.’