Where does our overseas aid go?

 

         The government has kept its promise to increase the amount of our money it spends on overseas aid.  Last year saw the Department for International development increase its spending to £7.87 billion from £7.48 billion the year before.

          Just under half was spent on country programmes administered by the Department, or £3.4 billion.  £1.8 billion was spent through its international finance programme, sending the money to the World Bank, regional development banks and global funds to spend. A further £1.7 billion was spent under the heading  “International relations” where the bulk went to the EU and the UN to spend for us. £0.8 billion was spent on research, including £0.2 billion on climate research.

           The Department mainly talks about the good work it does under its direct programmes. It is making progress getting children into school in poor countries, vaccinating  against disease, and tackling the scourge of malaria. Many of these are good programmes with noble aims.  It talks less about its reseach work and the money it sends via the EU.

            Under its country programmes, the biggest include India ( £268m), Pakistan (£216m), Nigeria (£172 m), Somalia (£103m) and Kenya (£94 m). Some of it is dangerous and difficult work. Last year £300,000 was written off for the loss of 5 trucks of aid in Southern Somalia from problems over authority for the mission. The Department is strengthening its anti corruption checks and systems, as it is aware of the dangers of misappropriation of these very large sums.

              What do you think of the priorities and the totals? Should the list of countries be shorter?

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164 Comments

  1. GJ WyattGeoff
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 5:18 am | Permalink

    Government aid is a transfer from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries, as (Lord) Peter Bauer pointed out.

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted August 1, 2012 at 6:24 am | Permalink

      True, of course.
      But how can we make our pennies count?
      I am a Catholic and I believe that God is watching. That makes me careful. There are several other Catholics who are of the same mind set. We want to increase the number so that people become better behaved.
      That ought to address the problem.

      The government, on the other hand, being non religious, just pours money into the hands of people who do not necessarily believe this. And, as you say, it is our money!

      • Duyfken
        Posted August 1, 2012 at 7:14 am | Permalink

        Your commnent, Mike, leaves me speechless, which is just as well since my expostulations would not pass moderation.

        • Single Acts
          Posted August 1, 2012 at 8:09 am | Permalink

          Government is entirely pointless in this area and counterproductive.

          Those of us who wish to help people overseas can via many aid agencies and charities. Those who don’t wish to, should not have money extracted from them at gunpoint.

          This would be freedom, don’t expect any from what we call government.

          (And before anyone makes the obvious point, yes I do, a charity called ‘action for orphans’ that supports kids made homeless who also had their families killed, following the Bam earthquake).

          • Single Acts
            Posted August 1, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

            Why is this still in moderation?

        • Disaffected
          Posted August 1, 2012 at 9:09 am | Permalink

          John, You posed the question the other day how much the EU costs the Uk. It appears the ONS thinks it costs £19.2 billion last year. Even if deductions are taken into account for money spent here it accounts to £30 million a day net.

          What does the UK get for this vast sum of money? This is before all the other associated costs are added like immigration, welfare, bureaucracy, HRA, EU bail outs and alleged “loans” etc.

          Now it must be time for the UK to leave the EU. Businesses trade with businesses not countries with countries.

          Oh, I see Mr Webb is reported be to fighting the billions of pound hike being imposed on a short time frame to UK pensions. I won’t hold my breath.

      • APL
        Posted August 1, 2012 at 8:45 am | Permalink

        Mike Stallard: “But how can we make our pennies count?”

        In a word, Localism!

        Abolish all State ‘charity’ or aid. It is neither charity nor aid, except to the class that self righteously administer the pittance that actually gets to those in need, in the process skimming of huge salaries for themselves, enormous expenses for world wide travel and accomodation – always in the best hotels, this lot never slum it to save a penny or two.

        Put the lot of the thieves out of work.

        ‘Localism’ where have I heard that term? Ah yes, another policy feint by the ‘not Tory’ party.

        • Timaction
          Posted August 1, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

          This foreign Aid budget is sickening. Borrowing money to give it away is madness. It is not the business of Governments to do this. It is the publics choice if they wish to give to charities NOT the Governments vanity projects. The largest receipients (India/Pakistan) are nuclear powers with large defence forces who choose to spend their own monies on space programmes etc. It is not for us to subsidise them. The Indian Government has its own foreign aid budget (about the same size as we give them) and has told our Government it doesn’t want our aid but our Ministers insisted to save “face”. We are giving £650 million over three years to build schools in Pakistan yet some of our OAP’s can’t afford to heat their homes on pensions where 10% of their electric bills are to subsidise windmills and solar panels. We are told we can’t even afford aircraft for our aircraft carriers but we can do this?? You couldn’t have such madness in a properly Governed State. I suspect we’ll find out at some point it will be because of some EU directive from our unelected masters in Brussels.

          • Bryan
            Posted August 2, 2012 at 10:49 am | Permalink

            I absolutely agree and these points have been made ad nauseum over the years to no avail. It seems global bragging rights are more important to our elected politicians and the ruling classes than sanity and wise spending.

        • Rebecca Hanson
          Posted August 1, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

          To APL’s comment on localism I would like to add the point that aid which increases intelligent awareness is of value, especially if that increase is for both recipients of aid and uk citizens involved in providing it. I’m against overseas aid which may professionally disempower those with ordinary resposibility. I also feel aid should be targeted at zone in the world which have been devasted by political events beyond their own control and are likely sources of future war for all the very obvious reasons of which the most

          • Rebecca Hanson
            Posted August 1, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

            ….easy to quantify is the cost of war avoided. If you click on my name you will find a blog i wrote recently about a very low cost overseas aid project i took part in as a volunteer and the things which then became possible because of it. I would say that taking part in that project raised my ability and self confidence hugely. If any of you have time to read it i`d be very interested to see if it affects your opinions on this topic.

          • APL
            Posted August 1, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

            Rebecca Hanson: “I would like to add the point that aid which increases intelligent awareness is of value, especially if that increase is for both recipients of aid and uk citizens involved in providing it.”

            Agreed.

          • outsider
            Posted August 2, 2012 at 1:24 am | Permalink

            Great post on your site. Seems to illustrate that aid should be bottom-up: start with the project and find money for it rather than start with 0.7 per cent of GDP and think of big projects to spend it on.

          • lifelogic
            Posted August 2, 2012 at 7:06 am | Permalink

            Nearly everything should be bottom up – not command economy, we know best, like Cameron and the EU.

          • Rebecca Hanson
            Posted August 2, 2012 at 10:25 am | Permalink

            Thank you for your replies. I wonder if perhaps the key situations in which the ‘bottom up principal will be compromised are crisis situatons where the ‘stitch in time’ economics are obviou. Localism already thrives in such situations and rightly so as our emergency capability is a huge national asset but in order to thrive it does require the state to provide some care and oversight of what is going on and appropriate interaction with it. We need to ensure that the aid we provide in crisis situations is high quality.

          • Lindsay McDougall
            Posted August 3, 2012 at 11:27 am | Permalink

            Are you not aware of the “money has wings” arguement and the immense difficulty it causes? Pakistan has had two years of horrendous floods, definitely outside their control. There are a vast number of useful projects that could be undertaken to improve the situation and one’s humantariam impulse is to give a lot of aid for such projects to Pakistan.

            But then you remember that (a) Pakistan has nuclear weapons and (b) is a source of terrorists in the UK (not first generation immigrants but second and third generation immigrants). So what do you do? Do you say that you will give them massive aid if they stop all further expenditure on nuclear weapons and supporting terrorists? If so, you are going to be accused of imperialism.

            What makes it even more difficult is that Pakistan wants to take over Kashmir from India. In a sense they are in the right because two thirds of the Kashmiri people want to join Pakistan. But India resists this and it too has nuclear weapons.

            If you accept the “money has wings” arguement, then if we don’t give reconstruction aid to Pakistan, they will have to spend more on reconstruction themselves and have less to spend on nuclear weapons and terrorism.

            The case against giving aid to India is more clear cut. They don’t need it.

      • Michael Lee
        Posted August 2, 2012 at 2:33 am | Permalink

        Do you mean better behaved for example like Catholic priests? Don’t turn your back on that problem, or you may get your comeuppance.

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted August 2, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

        What’s God got to do with it? I loathe public expenditure and waste – probably more than you do – and I’m a militant atheist.

    • Winston Smith
      Posted August 1, 2012 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      “Government aid is a transfer from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries, as (Lord) Peter Bauer pointed out.”

      It is also theft from hard-working taxpayers to be wasted on the moral consciences of wealthy politicians.

      Aid should be volunteered by charitable people, not stolen from the people.

      • lifelogic
        Posted August 1, 2012 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

        Indeed cut out the middle men in government often incompetent or even corrupt – both here and in the recipient country.

        • Bazman
          Posted August 2, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

          Like housing benefit. Can’t afford the rent? Can’t live there by your logic.

          • APL
            Posted August 2, 2012 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

            Bazman: “Like housing benefit. Can’t afford the rent? Can’t live there by your logic.”

            Which if you think about it is axiomatic.

          • Bazman
            Posted August 3, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

            lifelogic is a landlord. Housing benefit is socialism that he likes as it pays him or the likes of him. No so outraged about the cost or justice or injustice of that state subsidy. Like many he has difficulty thinking beyond his own particular circumstances and anything outside of that is ‘absurd’ and ‘pointless’. He writes about group think and BBC think but is blind to his own thinking.

          • lifelogic
            Posted August 3, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

            I do have some rented properties but it is not my main activity nor main income now.

  2. lifelogic
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 5:29 am | Permalink

    Where do it go? Well I suspect it ends up mainly in corrupt leaders Swiss bank accounts. Get out of the evil EU trade restrictions – more trade not aid please.

    I read in Richard Littlejohn’s blog that thanks to the Harriet Harman/”BBC think” types of this world, we have now have the absurd prospect of the equalities commision being taken to court by those made redundant – because they have not taken into account the impact of every their policy decision on “vulnerable groups”.

    As the commission have clearly discriminated hugely against employees (who were not from
    certain fashionable select racial groups) they thus have a high proportion of these groups in their employ. So making any redundant may be illegal as they have not taken into account the impact on vulnerable groups.

    In my opinon the whole commission (and these damaging laws) should go as it clearly just incubates disharmony – as indeed does Ms Harman and these pernicious laws.

    Interesting to see the commission have an office in Guildford, would not a northern ex-mill town not have been rather better for them to keep in touch with reality. Just close it down Cameron now everyone will be happier for your silly index.

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 1, 2012 at 7:39 am | Permalink

      I see that the BBC trust has wasted lots of our money trying to decide if Jeremy Paxman’s declaration that the “Book of Genesis was Hogwash” was (metaphorically) offensive and that “those who believed literally in the Old Testament” was too.

      Can be really afford this nonsense after the socialist incompetence of Major, Blair, Brown and Cameron.

      Who care if it is offensive it is clearly true. If you cannot offend someone you cannot say anything. Was it perhaps the “Hog” that was offensive I wonder?

      Much Cameron and indeed many politicians say offends me every day and is clearly not even true in the main.

      • APL
        Posted August 1, 2012 at 8:58 am | Permalink

        lifelogic: “I see that the BBC trust has wasted lots of our money trying to decide if Jeremy Paxman’s declaration that the “Book of Genesis was Hogwash” was (metaphorically) offensive and that “those who believed literally in the Old Testament” was too.”

        And here you see just how spineless and serpentine the media class is! Imagine for one second Paxman had made similar pronouncements about the Musslemen’s holy book.

        He would have lost his job.

        • zorro
          Posted August 1, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

          Yes, Paxman should be asked about what he thinks about (words left out)the Koran. He won’t say a word, and that is cowardly and shows up the inherent sneering anti-Christian bias. I also see very little mention in the BBC of the ethnic cleansing of Christians (etc)
          zorro

        • Lindsay McDougall
          Posted August 3, 2012 at 10:28 am | Permalink

          A perfectly legitimate post of mine in response to this has been deleted, apparently for no better reason that the editor disagreed with it, so I am going to reinstate it as best I can.

          We should be even handed about this and bear down against all organised religion, the first step being to downgrade their ‘holy books’.

          The approach that I favour is an Act with one clause:
          (Clause to the effect that specified holy books are not the word of God)
          You may not agree with it, Mr Editor, but this a perfectly legitimate expression of opinion. Is this an open, democratic forum or not?

          Reply: As you should know by now I do not ban people’s opinions on this site, merely try to keep them within the law of the land for the posters’ own benefit.

          • lifelogic
            Posted August 3, 2012 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

            There should certainly be no legal protection to prevent anyone from being offended. Almost anything said on religion will offend someone or other – so be it.

            Is religion so weak and delicate as to be in need such protection?

          • Lindsay McDougall
            Posted August 4, 2012 at 1:44 am | Permalink

            I fully understand and accept that you have to ensure that you are not breaking the law of the land or laying yourself open to a libel action as a result of bloggers’ remarks.

            As for me, don’t worry, I’m a big boy and can look after myself. If I were to be prosecuted on a dubious pretext with the risk of free speech being suppressed, then I would fight it all the way and give maximum publicity to the proceedings, regardless of any sub judice rules.

      • Winston Smith
        Posted August 1, 2012 at 9:54 am | Permalink

        The political/media elite easily criticise and mock Christainity. They are not so brave when it comes to Islam. Why is that?

        • zorro
          Posted August 1, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

          Why is the USA and UK allegedly giving succour to armed gangs of LIFG and AQIM fighting and committing atrocities in Syria?

          zorro

      • nicol sinclair
        Posted August 1, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

        @Lifelogic. I am mystified at your posts for they show grammatical incorrectness/errors. Are you on some sort of ‘sauce’? In which case, please let me know what it is so that I, too, may benefit… 🙂

        Personally, I prefer ‘Falling Down Water’ (neat vodka) which is what I am now on.

        • lifelogic
          Posted August 1, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

          Sorry – no just in a hurry – and my fingers do not always follow my mind faithfully. Hopefully you can guess what I am trying to type?

        • Michael Lee
          Posted August 2, 2012 at 3:21 am | Permalink

          Lifelogic fell down a long time ago, is no longer ‘up’ to it and a ‘sauce’ of much stupidity.

          • lifelogic
            Posted August 2, 2012 at 7:09 am | Permalink

            What for example?

          • Michael Lee
            Posted August 2, 2012 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

            What for example? Where do I start? Let’s take a look at your outpourings of drivel today. How about “The civil service so loves clinging on to the trappings of anything that the politicians let them cling on to.” Ending a sentence with a preposition is a poor grammatical start, but what does this assertion mean? Give an example, and show proof of your reasoning.
            Previously you confessed “…my fingers do not always follow my mind faithfully.” If your fingers are out of control, there’s little hope of the rest of us making any sense of your comments.
            Then you continue “Hopefully you can guess what I am trying to type?” Why have ended a statement with a question mark?
            Please desist your comments and return to primary school.

          • Bazman
            Posted August 3, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

            And that’s with a grammar school education. Good to see the social security system looking after you lifelogic.

          • lifelogic
            Posted August 4, 2012 at 4:53 am | Permalink

            @Michael Lee

            Not ending a sentence with a preposition is a bit of arrant pedantry up with which I will not put.

            Was it not Churchill who said this, or something rather similar?

            What is the difference between finishing a sentence “cling on to” or just “retain” except the former is perhaps more accurate and descriptive.

            Regarding the civil service I was merely making a point, surely self evident and seen in action almost every day. Namely that turkeys do not usually vote usually for Christmas. State (and indeed other) workers are often as happy organising systems for say, putting speed humps or wind farms in place, as they will be later organising the taking of them out. So long as they are well paid and pensioned. The system works like this, individual civil servants may be fine upstanding people but the system need control.

            They rarely go back to the Minister and say “what we are doing is totally pointless, mad and helps no one, please close this department down and sack us all.” They go back and say “we could do so very much more in this vitally important and indeed other areas Minister, but we just need much more funding please”.

            It is for the Minister to make such decisions and enforce action to control the endless growth of the state in the public’s interest.

            Alas this is not this governments strong point but then what is?

      • zorro
        Posted August 1, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

        But this is the Gramscian hell into which we are now entering courtesy of our metropolitan elite. No one can be offended, nothing can be criticised or go against the left liberal concensus……If you say something out of turn, someone might complain to the police and then you will get arrested, investigated, and perhaps lose your job.

        The Tom Daley stuff was utter nonsense….remember ‘sticks and stones’…..Daley shouldn’t have retweeted him or block him. Instead, he gets the oxygen of publicity, as does Daley…..

        Zorro

  3. MickC
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 5:47 am | Permalink

    Oh, this one’s easy! Switzerland.

    • stred
      Posted August 1, 2012 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      And possibly then laundered into property investment in the UK.

  4. Pete the Bike
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 5:51 am | Permalink

    Oh good. The government has succeeded in giving the money it steals from us or borrows in our children’s name to some totally undemocratic international quangos and utterly corrupt foreign governments. No doubt it will help their “buy another new Mercedes limo fund”.
    Foreign aid is just another sort of benefit that produces nothing but dependency and warps local free markets. If our bunch of idiots really wanted to help struggling countries it would remove all trade barriers with them and leave the charity to private individuals. Trouble is they’ve stolen so much of ordinary people’s money nobody can even afford their own bills let alone give money away.

    • APL
      Posted August 1, 2012 at 7:14 am | Permalink

      Pete the bike: “Foreign aid is just another sort of benefit that produces nothing but dependency and warps local free markets.”

      True, warps isn’t the right word. Decimates ther local markets and replaces it with some perverse dependency system.

      But the biggest dependent class is the international jet set that administer the whole farce. They are by far the biggest beneficiaries of this sort of state subsidy.

      • Single Acts
        Posted August 1, 2012 at 8:12 am | Permalink

        Yes indeed.

        Thus the international ‘speech making’ circuit for fellows who played the game, handed out your money and now get stupid amounts back for making trite remarks for 30 minutes.

        Can you think of anyone this may apply to?

        • Winston Smith
          Posted August 1, 2012 at 10:05 am | Permalink

          David Miliband : (makes personal allegations about his education, without offering evidence. )

          • Winston Smith
            Posted August 2, 2012 at 11:45 am | Permalink

            Your protection (words left out-ed) of your fellow MPs does you no favour. Its on Wikipedia. From the Daily Mail, 2008:

            “Despite his self-confidence, his academic qualifications were distinctly underwhelming – two grade Bs and a D at A-level.

            David, it turned out, was one of three Corpus PPE students who had arrived on an Inner London Education Authority scheme to get pupils from the capital’s comprehensives to Oxford.

            A worthy scheme, no doubt, but it’s hard to imagine that David Miliband was the kind of deprived inner-city pupil the founders had in mind.

            His father was the eminent Marxist historian Ralph Miliband, whose work loomed large on our syllabus.

            David grew up in a large family home in Primrose Hill, North London, in a square that was fashionably shabby in the Sixties but which gentrified rapidly in the Eighties and Nineties until the neighbours were millionaire merchant bankers and lawyers.

            By contrast the Miliband household was filled with Left-wing writers, dissidents, academics and politicians. ”

            (words left out) Considering your own background you should not be hiding this fact.

            Reply: I do not encourage personal attacks on anyone on this site, as I do not wish to see bloggers dragged into libel matters, nor spend all my time researching whether some of these allegations are true.

    • Disaffected
      Posted August 1, 2012 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      I think we are all capable of giving our money to any charity of our choice. We should not be taxed for government to waste even more of our money to non charitable purposes.

      DfID should not exist. One of many ministerial departments that need to be merged to save taxpayers money, to decrease the sizeof the state and allow the people of this country to make choices of their own.

    • zorro
      Posted August 1, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      You forgot to mention the Learjets!

      Zorro

  5. Brian Taylor
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 5:51 am | Permalink

    £200 million on climate research,that the figure that strikes me odd,as £1.7 billion is channeled through the EU and the UN they spend more than enough on climate research.
    Am I correct in saying in % terms the UK spend more than others WHY?

    • John Coles
      Posted August 1, 2012 at 7:25 am | Permalink

      To make Dave feel good and even more acceptable to the Metropolitan media/social/political elite.

      • Jose
        Posted August 1, 2012 at 10:44 am | Permalink

        Think you’ll find it’s been a long-term commitment by the LibDems, as in decades, and that there is some sort of non-binding international agreement to contribute a percentage of GDP.

    • Disaffected
      Posted August 1, 2012 at 10:08 am | Permalink

      Because people who attend Oxbridge PPE courses are brainwashed by lefty ideology and do not understand basic economics.

      • lifelogic
        Posted August 2, 2012 at 7:14 am | Permalink

        Social sciences and how to be a good “career” politician in the EU system – rather than the real worlds of democracy and how people and science actually are in fact.

  6. norman
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    I’m in favour of alleviating poverty so am against sending out money as ‘aid’ to these backwards countries. And we must think they are backwards to deserve our charity instead of using that money to further develop trade with them.

    Seems racist to me but no doubt there’s a reasonable explanation. Empire guilt or some such nonsense. Which is ironic as study after study shows aid does more harm than good.

  7. Epigenes
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 5:56 am | Permalink

    All overseas aid should stop, the DfID should be scrapped and the money used to reduce taxation in the UK.

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 1, 2012 at 6:13 am | Permalink

      Indeed thus increasing trade, jobs and growth and helping the poor far more.

      • Bazman
        Posted August 2, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

        Your biggest fantasy yet!

  8. APL
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    JR: “Last year saw the Department for International development increase its spending to £7.87 billion from £7.48 billion the year before.”

    Slash the budget by 100%, it should be diverted to the British cities that have imported huge underdevelopment from the third world.

    If the civil service so loves clinging on to the trappings of colonial influence, let them all do it on their own penny or billion pounds, as the case seems to be.

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 1, 2012 at 6:15 am | Permalink

      The civil service so loves clinging on to the trappings of anything that the politicians let them cling on to. Under Cameron this a hell of a lot of nonsense activity.

      • IanH
        Posted August 1, 2012 at 7:30 am | Permalink

        Can someone confirm that under Gordon Brown’s tenure the cost of overseas Civil Service pensions was rolled into the overseas aid budget

        • Iain
          Posted August 1, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

          Yes, it was an Indian state, I can’t remember the name , one run by communists and socialists who benefited from Gordon Brown’s largesse , that meant we ended up underwriting their civil service pension schemes and paid for by Aid.

    • Jerry
      Posted August 1, 2012 at 7:50 am | Permalink

      Slash the budget by 100%, it should be diverted to the British cities that have imported huge underdevelopment from the third world.

      …and, no doubt, to the UK border agency so that they can make us ‘fortress Britain’!

      Whilst I am against the worst excesses of DfID and would like to see a substantial cut in its budget [1] I do accept that some well targeted aid is in the UK’s own national interest and that there will always be the need for genuine emergency aid.

      [1] better still, the department abolished and certain well defind and limited duties pass to the FO

      • APL
        Posted August 1, 2012 at 9:13 am | Permalink

        Jerry: “…and, no doubt, to the UK border agency so that they can make us ‘fortress Britain’!”

        We could immediately put a stop to unregulated immigration and impose a system whereby immigrants are invited by lawful citizens , those citizens are responsible for the good behavior of their sponsee for, say five or six years.

        We do not need the state telling us how many third world benefit claimants we should import to pay for the ills of our colonial past.

        Jerry: “[1] better still, the department abolished and certain well defind and limited duties pass to the FO”

        The Foreign office should be radically downsized, it has become a malignant homunculus living off the good will or negligence of the British population.

        During the peak of Empire we had twenty or thirty thousand people administering the Empire, now we have several million people administering the United Kingdom.

        • Jerry
          Posted August 1, 2012 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

          We could immediately put a stop to unregulated immigration and impose a system whereby immigrants are invited by lawful citizens , those citizens are responsible for the good behavior of their sponsee for, say five or six years.

          Obviously I failed to add enough irony to the comment you replied to…

          Just how is any government going to enforce that, heck we couldn’t even fully secure our coastline during the second world war. Anyone who wants or is desperate to get into this country will will try and a proportion will do so – my point, surely better for the UK to spend money making those people lives better in their own countries than spending money trying to track them down once they have arrived as illegals (and then possibly deport them, if they are solely economic refugees)? This is what I was attempting to suggest when I said “I do accept that some well targeted aid is in the UK’s own national interest”.

  9. Fred
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    And why exactly are we giving any money from the British taxpayer to …. sponsors of terror? (Pakistan) When they are funding , training, and harboring the Taliban and helping them kill our troops.

    • Fred
      Posted August 1, 2012 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      And why was the word removed?

      Reply. No proof of allegation which they would deny

    • Disaffected
      Posted August 1, 2012 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      Also the largest amount of immigration (outside the EU) comes from Pakistan. This appears to be in contrast to politician claims why our troops are fighting terrorism in this part of the world.

    • outsider
      Posted August 1, 2012 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      If aid to Pakistan were channeled through charities to provide mixed non-sectarian education, it might well be money well spent for all concerned. Sadly, I doubt that is more than a fraction and quite a lot is for political purposes.

    • zorro
      Posted August 1, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

      How else will they pay for the AK47s….?

      Zorro

  10. colliemum
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    The famous saying has it that ‘every little helps’. In the same way ‘every little’ helps towards being too much in regard to the £0.2 billion spent on ‘climate research’.
    I wish you, John, would read the paper by Anthony Watts et al, put up at his site “Watts Up with That’ on Sunday. It shows how temperature data in the USA have been manipulated upwards during the last decades, to push AGW. I’m not providing a link because that site is dead easy to find.
    We’re paying through the nose for something which doesn’t exist.
    Worse, in the context of help for developing countries, AGW has been used to prevent the poorest countries in Africa from building coal power stations to generate electricity.

    In general, I would suggest that MPs would take on board the warnings from various people ‘on the ground’ how this ‘help’ has made developing countries more dependent and less capable of dealing with problems. This should not come as surprise, because dependency is the by-product of every benefit/welfare culture.
    Having our money go to those fine institutions like the World Bank, the UN and EU, to ‘spend for us’ is intolerable, and those monies should be scrapped forthwith.

  11. backofanenvelope
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    You say Mr Redwood:

    “What do you think of the priorities and the totals? Should the list of countries be shorter?”

    You know what we think Mr Redwood – scrap the DfID and stop shipping borrowed money overseas.

  12. Alison
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    A bit rich giving money to a country with a space research programme after recent talk about the “immorality” of tax avoidance.

    We’re often told how generous we are, so why not leave it to individuals?

    • Single Acts
      Posted August 1, 2012 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      Yes.

  13. A.Sedgwick
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    I doubt if half the £8b is used correctly.

    Apart from disaster relief direct government foreign aid should be curtailed and effectively privatised with the taxpayer matching £ for £ private donations to approved and strictly audited UK based charities with a financial cap on each.

  14. Ezra T Fernydew
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    India has nuclear weapons and a space programme.
    Indian businesses are buying up British companies.
    Why are we subsidising all this – for this is what it amounts to?

    Answers on a (post)card, please.

    • Bob
      Posted August 1, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

      It appears very much the the idea of sending money abroad while scrapping our armed forces is a Lib Dem dream come true.

      India has already stated that the aid is neither required nor necessary, which undermines Andrew Mitchell’s case.

      If our leaders feel so strongly about giving money away, then perhaps they should give their own money away!

      One of the solutions to the third worlds problems would be to stop subsidising French farmers to overproduce agricultural products which depress the natural markets of third world farmers.

      In the meantime people are dying in NHS hospitals from lack of drinking water, lack of hygiene and general neglect. If the government can’t see how ludicrous this is then they should hang their heads in shame.

    • Bazman
      Posted August 2, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      Some of the aid goes to the most poor and vulnerable peole in the world such as rural Indian women and is used very efficiently. To the penny in fact. You could just pull the plug I suppose. My daughter will still live a charmed life.

  15. ChrisXP
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    So the UK throws money around abroad, to try and enhance its profile on the world stage, while many of its own people are short of money, jobs and essentials.
    Alison above has said that we are told how generous we are as a nation; so why don’t we keep the money at home, sort ourselves out first and THEN offer help to others. It’s not being selfish; how can a weak nation help another? Even God must think we’re a bit dim, throwing our money away overseas when there are needs right on our own doorstep.

  16. Colin D.
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    This nation’s debts to the outside world are still going up hugely. The money we are sending overseas as aid is therefore simply adding to our overseas debt. The largesse of today’s government will have to paid off by the sacrifices of our children. It is so easy to salve your ‘conscience’ when you are being generous with someone else’s money.
    The maxim ‘charity begins at home’ was never more applicable than to this nation’s current financial circumstances.

    • zorro
      Posted August 1, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

      Never mind, as long as it makes Cast Iron Dave feel good about himself, and crow it from the rooftops. It woul dbe nicer if he used his own fortune to salve his conscience…..

      Zorro

      • lifelogic
        Posted August 2, 2012 at 7:16 am | Permalink

        Indeed it would and his money to prop up the EURO for a few more seconds.

  17. oldtimer
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    The department should be abolished, and residual functions transferred back to the FO whence it came. The budget should be slashed and comprise a contingency fund for emergency and disaster relief (earthquakes, tsunamis and the like). It should only be used where governments seek such international aid – significantly India felt no need to do so after the tsunami disaster – and should match public donations £ for £. Beyond that it should wind down existing obligations. This country is insolvent – why else is the BoE printing money by the trainload? It cannot afford the self-indulgence of DfIDs existing funding.

    • zorro
      Posted August 1, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

      Another £80 billion going to the banks with no guarantee that it will find it’s way into the real economy……All this government does is bail out the banks, it’s scandalous.

      Zorro

      • alan jutson
        Posted August 1, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

        Zorro

        By the time the Banks haver put on their margin, it will be nearer £70 Billion that goes into the real economy.

        As you say and as I have said before all this is doing is adding another £10 Billion to the Banks bottom line.

        The Government must think we are all stupid, problem is whilst some of us are wise to this, most of the population will not have a clue about what is going on. !

        They are happy simply to view Ccoronation street and/or Eastenders which many seem to actually believe is true life.

  18. alan jutson
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    From your figures almost half is totally out of our control, because it is given to other agencies for them then to decide what to do with it , after taking out expenses of course..

    Why do I have the impression that this is not much more than a feel good factor for government leaders.

    The simple fact is, much more than the sums you suggest are given as overseas aid, as it does not include voluntary donations given by members of our population, and help given from Non Govermental Organisations.

    Whilst I am not against perhaps a certain amount of aid for the truly needy (and there are many in this Country) I do feel that simply shovelling money abroad is a complete waste of time.
    If we are going to give anything, then give expertise and Uk manufactured products within a project, like sinking a well !

    Do not construct a bottomless pit, as we seem to have too many of these at the moment.

    • zorro
      Posted August 1, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

      Be sure that the money spent by the EU or UN will be well spent….NOT

      Zorro

      • alan jutson
        Posted August 1, 2012 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

        Zorro

        Yes, lots more Landcruisers, and trips to 5 star hotels.

  19. Sue
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    Until our own economy is healthy and we have taken care of our own, we should be giving no overseas aid at all unless it’s for some sort of catastrophe.

    The money the government calls “aid” is stolen from our wages without our consent. The old fashioned idea of charity is for people to give willingly to causes WE CHOOSE. I have therefore ceased to give voluntarily to any charity for a very long time.

  20. Roy Grainger
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    It is a curious list of countries based apparently on our colonial legacy, it is hard to see why this is a good way of allocating funds – why not just list the poorest countries and then allocate the money accordingly. I would agree we may have some strategic reasons to send money to places like Pakistan but otherwise the money sent to India (for example) could be deployed in a whole host of African countries with lower per capita GDP (many lower than Kenya which features high on the list you give).

    • zorro
      Posted August 1, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

      It depends what happens with the money. It is not well spent if all it does is create demand for more money to be spent without solving the real issues.

      Zorro

  21. iain gill
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    Any country with aircraft carriers or space programme or nuclear weapons or able to borrow on better terms than us should not be getting aid. Stop aid to india and help our own people

    • zorro
      Posted August 1, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      Quite right too.

      Zorro

  22. Gary
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    it is not aid. it is empire by other means. so called soft power.

    • Winston Smith
      Posted August 1, 2012 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      Except, it ain’t working.

      • Dan H.
        Posted August 1, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

        Oh but you’re wrong there, it IS working, and working very well indeed. Foreign aid is an extremely good way of devastating the economies and political systems of foreign poor countries, and by doing so we’re preventing them from doing a number of things.

        First and foremost, we are making absolutely sure that they stay poor. Poor countries are no threat to us, so we remain safe despite having given ample cause for them to hate us through previous decades of so-called aid. Poverty through aid also permits us to keep our choice of Third-world kleptocrat in power, rather than the one the locals might prefer.

        Secondly, by keeping them poor, we ensure that they don’t exploit fossil fuels to any great extent, thus preventing a good deal of global warming from fossil carbon emissions.

        Thirdly, poor countries are often literal gold-mines of precious minerals and ores; if they ever got rich, then they’d want the wealth for themselves. Aid keeps them poor, and keeps these rare minerals cheap.

        Fourthly, poor, hungry Third World nations are just the right place to dump out-of-date foodstuffs that nobody else would touch with a barge pole. We can even use this food dumping as aid, thus allowing our quangoes to pocket the money on the quiet.

        Finally, aid money keeps the Third World from becoming civilised, and thus maintains a steady requirement for military arms and equipment. This therefore gives us a lucrative secondhand disposal market which keeps the arms industry ticking over nicely.

        So as you see, aid has lots and lots of uses, though actually helping anyone isn’t one of them.

    • APL
      Posted August 1, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

      Gary: “it is empire by other means. so called soft power.”

      We got rid of the Empire because it turned into a loss making operation. Why would we want to create another loss making operation instead?

      The fact of the matter is, the people who most want aid, are the people who administer the system.

    • zorro
      Posted August 1, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      Yes, a lot of the ‘aid’ is to supposedly buy/curry influence……Governments should facilitate the engagement of trade not aid to make people better off and able to stand on their own two feet……If international agencies want to get money off the public, they should make appeals. Governments should not use taxes for these purposes.

      If they insist that it is necessary, it must be properly spent and administered and not risked in lawless areas like Somalia, which is notorious for expropriating aid from everyone…….Governments should not just provide food for people to survive, there must be an appropriate method to ensure sustainability. It is not sustainable for Africans to have huge families which they cannot support. Parents are the ones who have the obligation to provide for the children not the state or foreign governments.

      Zorro

    • alan jutson
      Posted August 1, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

      Gary

      Its not soft power, its soft in the head.

    • stred
      Posted August 2, 2012 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

      Do you mean some soft power to controlt he recipients and stop them advancing? ( as other answers). Interesting idea.

  23. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    £3.4 billion was spent on country programmes administered by the Department. The ones you listed added up to £853 million; what happened to the other £2.547 billion? Is the cost of running this department included in the total spend or is that an additional cost? Unsurprisingly, this is one promise the government has met. We all know that they just love to spend our money even when they have to borrow it or get their pals at the BoE to just print it for them. After two years I am not impressed by your assertion that “The Department is strengthening its anti corruption checks and systems”. Firstly, that was needed from day one and secondly, I don’t believe anything will be done other than to increase departmental bureaucracy. The pledge on overseas aid should never have been made and given the dire state of our economy, the budget should be eliminated.

    Reply. The money you query was spent on other named countries. Apologies for delay in posting, but being short of time I did not post last night if a post needed a response

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted August 1, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

      Still awaiting moderation – may I ask why?

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted August 2, 2012 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      I don’t know specifically about UK aid but in some African regions 60% of the foreign aid is spent on feasibility studies, with most of the money going on ex-pat salaries. There was a president of Kenya who made this very point. Unfortunately, this self same president – together with two senior colleagues – were prone to syphon off 30% of construction budgets and deliver less than planned. Take, for example, a World Bank budget for a road construction project. They would take their 30%, build 70% of the planned project, then turn round to the World Bank and say “Thank you very much for your kind gift. Unfortunately, the funds were insufficient to complete the project.”.

      So the choice seems to have been between feasibility studies and construction projects affected by corruption.

      The ex-pat consultancy market has become international. Brits can work on Danish aid programmes, Europeans can work on Asian Development Bank projects and just about anybody can work on World Bank projects. Once, in Bangladesh, a team of 5 Brits was underbid by a team of 2 Americans and 3 Filipinos masquerading as Americans. If you were a third world government, would you accuse the Americans of cheating?

      By the way, in Claire Short’s time, KPMG got a good dollop of fees for teaching and promoting good government. Nice to know that imperialism is alive and well.

  24. The Prangwizard
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    I’m for our withdrawal from the EU. So no money to the EU. I wouldn’t give aid to any country which could help itself. So, no aid to India, Pakistan. If we want to bolster countries fighting those we consider our enemies, then spend money on that openly, don’t pretend it’s for something else. If Commonwealth countries really need help, then help them if it’s in our interests too. Generally though no aid without payback. Many in the present government and many of our MPs are puffed up politically correct fools. I think from an English perpective in all matters. We can’t do much about that now but one day England will have its own parliament and at least then they will be our politically correct fools.

  25. Edward.
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    Why is it incumbent upon the British to remit taxes [borrowings more like] to educate foreign children – when we cannot adequately educate our own little darlings?
    Don’ t the ‘cognoscenti’ of the very illuminated liberal left always pontificate upon the evils of the British Empire and now that we are part of an Empire ourselves [that they ‘helped’ us into]. Now, ignored, pilfered, leeched and enslaved by the corporate giants and Kommissars as unit consumers – why do the left continue to pillory their own countrymen, to carry on aiding the impoverished overseas whilst impoverishing the already indigent indigenous, or don’t the left do irony?

    No probably definitely not.

  26. j goodchild
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    I find giving all tbis money away particularly to these contries obscene
    this fund should be stopped immediatley
    once britain is back on its feet then and inmy then should we form a disaster fund. this money should be placed on high interest somewhere in the world? and then used for one off payments in extreme.cases.maybe for some of the flood victims in this country

  27. Peter Richmond
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    I am all in favour in many people watching over charitable expenditure but only in the sense of each watching over their own support for their own favoured charities. I am also in favour of local support by local people. Without strong local communities we can hardly support others. As was said already, large international initiatives usually provide conduits for poor people in rich countries to support rich people in poor countries.

    So scrap government aid and encourage philanthropy by building up rich strong confident communities in our own country.

  28. Iain
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    I don’t believe there should be any Aid at all.

    We have been trying the Aid policy for 50 years, the West has invested some 2trillion dollars into it, and for what? What has it achieved, are we any closer to the day when no more Aid will be needed? No quite the reverse, the situation seems to be getting worse with lots and lots of more money needed. We are told all that is required is another heave on the Aid lever, but that is always never enough. In fact the countries that have ‘benefited ‘ from oodles of Aid are countries that are in need of ever more amounts of Aid.

    When does all this end, where is the light at the end of the tunnel? Another 50 years ? Several more trillion dollars ‘invested’ ?

    Aid is just international welfare, and just like welfare polices everywhere else all it achieves is a culture of dependency, a corruption of society, and despotism.

    Look at the Sahel between 1968 and 73 (before st Bob and Bono came on the scene) the West pumped in $7.5 billion of Aid to alleviate drought and develop the countries. By 1973 Aid was pouring in at the rate of $40 per person per year, with countries like Burkino Fasso receiving some 350 Aid missions, but what did it achieve? Did we set these countries up to sustainability? Like hell we did. With national responsibility to manage their own affairs off loaded onto others and Aid, they proceeded carry on regardless, not make the necessary changes to their societies or economies,, and now countries like Niger who had populations of 5 million, now have a population three times that, with 50% of the population under the age of 15, and no hope of feeding their population. And Aid agencies are saying we have to do it all over again with the Sahel in a permanent state of famine.

    Sorry Aid is a policy that has been tried and quite clearly failed, we should not waste on penny more on the policy, and certainly stop making matters worse by carrying on with the policy.

  29. English Pensioner
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Government foreign aid is the equivalent of charitable donations which have been forcibly taken from the taxpayer to give to causes which the government supports and which generally are not those to which I would give it if I were donating directly. As the average sum given by the government, per person, far exceeds the amount that I would give to charities of my choice operating abroad I have now stopped giving to any charities operating outside the UK, telling them to ask the Treasury for a cut of the money that they have taken from me for use as aid.
    In fact what the government is giving is not aid, but bribes to countries in the hope they will support us in other matters, which, of course, they rarely do.
    If aid must be given, it should be in the form of British made goods, which cannot easily be resold, or services, provided by British contractors. Under no circumstances should cash ever be given, it goes into local officials’ pockets faster than British bankers collect their bonuses!

  30. Atlas
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Having watched a BBC Panorama programme on how the DWP is causing untold misery to genuinely sick people in the UK on the Treasury’s orders, I find it seriously offensive that money is being wasted in such quantity on supporting corrupt countries.

    Cameron and Co (IDS and Grayling included) really are acting out the Flashman persona. It seems that the Labour Party is onto a winner with their depiction of the Cabinet.

    • Bob
      Posted August 1, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

      On LBC radio yesterday they interviewed a 50 year old man who had given up his career to care for his widowed mother for several years, and looked after her until his savings ran out, at which point, she had to go into long term care.

      He was evicted from her house so that it could be sold to pay for her care home. Now he is homeless and jobless.

      This situation could be solved overnight if Cameron had the backbone to do the right thing.

  31. Sir Richard Richard
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    The total should be £0.00. Charity is only noble when it’s done of a person’s own volition and free will. When the money is robbed from us and forcibly given to someone else, it is theft and redistribution of stolen funds.

    Furthermore, people are often much better suited to direct aid than governments are. If, on the other hand, they choose to give it to a large, multi-national charity as the government does, there’s nothing stopping them.

    This is just the moral aspect, I agree with the others about the practical aspects such as, we can’t afford it, we’re subsidising India’s nuclear programme, etc.

    • Edward.
      Posted August 1, 2012 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

      All government spending is theft, this is why we need absolute accountability and an end to the present way of doing things, democracy does not and never has, existed in Britain.
      And, as time drifts on, what few powers our ‘sovereign’ Parliament have, are being re-directed to our real government in Brussels – a process which has taken 40 years but now we are in the final straight.

      Indeed, that is why our budget for the DFID grows year on year.
      It ain’t Dave’s largesse, no – it is the EU demanding more money – you see much of ‘British’ aid is doled out by the EU under the aegis of the blue ring of stars – thus, we pay and the EU takes the credit.

      Cool huh?

      The End of the Euro cannot come soon enough and then when the EU collapses: we must change our system in this nation and make it work for the voter and not as it does now – for the political class and the gilded corporate elites [bankers et al].

  32. Neil Craig
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    The choices of Pakistan, Nigeria & Somalia look like political choices. All of them are of political “importance” to us, all are corrupt and all are, at least, on the edge of being failed states. I am surprised Afgahnisatan wasn’t in there – perhaps their aid budget is part of the military.

    Taking £200 million of that budget to promote the CAGW fraud is literally obscene. I suspect it is in fact more – projects which only get paid for becauise they are “green” will not show up as “green” on the sheet.

    If international aid was really about aiding people as much as possible we would (1) quit the EU and end restrictions onn impots from these countries. (B) give the money only to countries which are practicing sane economic policies & encourage family planning and who will therefore not waste it (thus I disagree with those who don’t want to include India) – we should only help those willing to help themselves, anything else encoutages catastrophe & (C) put a large amount into supporting technological progress such as extending mobile phone coverage in the poorest countries – that sounds counter intuitive but the evidence that mobile phones are the major driver of growth in Africa is strong.

    Alternately if the primary purpose is featherbedding bureaucrats and supporting political “friends” don’t call it “aid” just as our space budget which exists to featherbed European bureaucrats cannot honestly be called a “space” budget.

  33. Mactheknife
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    £0.2 Billion on Climate research is a scandal particularly as the scientists doing the research are most green activists and are not averse to a little deception, see here:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/07/29/press-release-2/

    John, bearing in mind these people are at the heart of the IPCC and that our government(s), Labour and Conservative are setting policy on this corrupt science, what are MP’s doing about it ? I’ve written numerous times to DECC and get the standard AGW platitudes in response.

  34. SadButMadLad
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    If you want to go all religious then the phrase “Take the timber out of your own eye before removing the splinter from your friend” comes to mind.

    We need to sort out our debt first, then we can give to those in need when we have money to spare. At the moment our giving to the poor in other countries is keeping us poor in this country.

    So abolish the whole DfID as it is no longer fit for purpose.

  35. Andy
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    No aid should go to any country that:

    1) Has a nuclear weapon program, or nuclear weapons
    2) Has a space program

  36. Max Dunbar
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    The Department for foreign Interference and Dysfunction is simply a vehicle for politicians, particularly Lib-Dems, to posture and bask in self-righteous smuggery using other people’s money. It gives them an opportunity for freebies abroad and the chance to patronise the “natives” in select countries of their choice.

  37. Stephen O
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    It does not make sense to borrow to give in this way. So I do not support the aid budget at its current level. Perhaps half would be more reasonable. If one day the economy is booming and debt is dropping like a stone, then take another look at putting it back up.

    If taxpayers’ money (or debts racked up in their name) is being used to help those in other countries it is reasonable to expect that both they know it is the UK helping them and there is some evidence that we are helping friends not enemies. I have read of ministers arguing for a large aid budget as part of the UK’s ‘soft power’, yet with half being given through international bodies we are effectively an anonymous benefactor for the recipients. This makes no sense. Furthermore it can lead to British money going to recipients which are hostile to the UK.

    The priorities with aid to poor countries should be to help them develop rather simply keep them on life support. So build infrastructure and civil governance (what is needed will vary case by case), to make them attractive for investors. I expect this may require us to focus on fewer countries, but if we can actually jumpstart their economies, it could actually give their people a proper future, where they can live and not just exist.

    A portion of the aid budget should be set aside for disaster relief and that should not exclude those countries that we have the strongest cultural ties with who suffer misfortune as well poor countries. I was disappointed that with the UK’s massive aid budget there was no reports of assistance being offered either to Australia when it suffered massive floods or New Zealand when it suffered a major earthquake.

  38. cosmic
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    The idea of borrowing money to spend on completely ineffective, (probably counter-productive) aid programmes is completely ridiculous. It’s pretty clear that corruption is rampant and ingrained.

    I can see no reason why the aid budget should not be scrapped in total and the machinery for disbursing aid dismantled. If people want to give to charities involved in overseas development wotk, they are free to do so, although I’d suggest they look closely at some of these bodies.

  39. Barbara
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    A book often recommended on this topic is: Dead Aid, by Dambisa Moyo (foreword by Niall Freguson), explaining how aid does not raise countries out of poverty, but is often detrimental. Have not yet read it myself, but would be interested in the views of anyone who has.

  40. Manof Kent
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    It is more of a Government slush fund ,ring fenced in the coalition agreement to give the Lib Dems some way of presenting themselves as ‘international’.
    A waste of borrowed money-especially the climate change component.
    Scrap the lot .
    Keep a small amount in reserve as a fund for emergency help. Full stop.

  41. Tad Davison
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    I don’t doubt for a moment that Britain’s welfare bill is too big. Nor do I doubt for a moment that some who claim disability benefits are swinging the lead, and should be stopped. Yet I can’t help but wonder what those genuine claimants, who are already struggling to make ends meet, and who are having to jump through increasingly tighter and more numerous hoops to get anything at all, must make of Cameron and his foreign aid?

    Money is given to foreign countries, a lot of which is absorbed by waste and misappropriation. A similar thing happens with Britain’s massive contributions to the EU. Criminals too get four square meals a day, satelite television, gymnasium equipment, and all manner of creature comforts. Yet those honest people in the most dire need right here at home, who have the misfortune to become ill and infirm, are made to feel like spongers, particularly by the right-wing press.

    I regard myself as right-wing, but I freely give to good causes. Unlike the government, I can see the difference between a good cause and a bad one.

    Perhaps we should remind the government, that it’s primary duty is to protect its own people first. Only then, should we even contemplate giving money away, and in the case of the EU, there’s a powerful if not overwhelming case for stopping it altogether. Genuinely sick and disabled people are much more deserving, and Grayling needs to get real with his flawed and rigorous testing regime. The Tories aren’t thought of as ‘the Nasty party’ for nothing!

    But they’ye also earning for themselves the labels, ‘The idiot party’ and ‘the couldn’t care less about anybody, just as Cameron looks good on the international stage party’!

    A traditional two-word Tory phrase was ‘common sense’, but alas that went out of the window long ago with much of their core support. Nobody in their right mind wants to be sick, it’s an inherent frailty of being a human, so are they not more deserving than criminals who seek to exploit another for their own selfish ends, or a nuclear power, or maybe a country that harbours terrorists whose avowed aim is to do us harm?

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

    • Alison
      Posted August 2, 2012 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      I regard myself as right-wing, but I freely give to good causes.

      So do I, but I’m very picky. I’m certainly not prepared to have the decision made for me by the chugger in the high street or the self righteous nuisance who knocks on my door at 9pm (happens a lot).

  42. c777
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    Well I doubt if the UK will be able to afford to feed it’s own people properly soon.
    Or keep the lights on for that matter.
    See coming economic collapse.
    And a big thank you to;
    Crooked politicians ,dodgy bankers,corporates,the corrupt UN,the corrupt EU,crooked academics,the controlled media.
    For rough guidelines on coming events see;
    The collapse of the Roman Empire.
    No of course not ,isn’t going to happen, move along there.
    Of course Windmills might just save us all ,LOL.

  43. Terry
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    If we have to give foreign Aid why is it not in the form of a line of credit with selected UK companies?

    Why do we have to hand over OUR money to third parties to take their cut and pass it on to any other? Why are we giving so much to overseas aid when such aid is required within these shores? When are the Government going to realise that we cannot feed the world, neither can we water the world, nor can we medically treat the world. The world is too big, demands too much and we have too little to provide anymore. This country has nothing to feel guilty about for we have already done our bit. Now it is the turn of the new super-powers.

  44. forthurst
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    In terms of country specific aid, it seems illogical that we are giving a country which claims to be a superpower the most aid. India has successfully built up its internationally uncompetitive business sector behind protectionist barriers; Cameron went there, presumably on the suggestion of his ‘mainframe computer’ who (allegation left out), to negotiate mutual trade, which transpired to mean (inviting in)even more Indians as a sop to ‘allowing’ us to trade with them. India needs to be kept in line tradewise by enforcing WTO agreements not by bribery. India like Pakistan are capable of running their own affairs and neither has any strategic value to this country. Africa, on the other hand is another kettle of fish, rich in natural mineral and agricultural land resources, it lacks the indigenous human resources capable of their successful exploitation. It is in our strategic interest to continue to assist them; in fact by ignoring the behaviour of tyrants like Mugabe, we are doing ourselves and our fellow countrymen who have been murdered and displaced by him, a great disservice.

    As to the money distributed through international agencies, firstly I posted videos under JR’s “Green energy makes some people see red” which make it quite clear that CAGW is a blatant fraud designed to transfer power and wealth away from national governments towards Internationalist bureaucracies of which the EU, the UN, the World Bank are prime examples, and to provide more employment opportunities for the parasical sector. These internationalist organisations need to be deprecated because they represent a threat to our existence as an independent people as well as a drain on our resources. Any research to assist the third world in its never ending battle against poverty and disease should take place here; in particular, there is a need to prevent the production of surplus populations whose presence may not be beneficial here.

  45. sm
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    £8 billion in overseas aid that is the inputs what is the output?

    What is the admin % overhead on that? and how much makes it to the aid worthy?

    Scrap the aid for countries for functioning governments who clearly have discretionary or other priority spends. (India, Pakistan etc)

    Would countries need aid if they were able to tax the economic gains made in their own countries? Perhaps we need to to take a close look a offshore, secrecy jurisdictions, money laundering , bribery etc and also whether the country has a functional tax system to counter any mass expropriation of their wealth. Indeed it may be that we should collect withholding tax for these countries if we can identify the flows through EU banks.

    Would our funds not be better used on providing the RAF/Navy with air/sea land lift capacity which could be used in real emergencies natural disasters? Why do we not have a nuclear ( desalinate water/ provide power) surface vessel or carrier with a air-relief capability?

    Can we compare the aid broken down by countries ostensibly receiving it? Can we then compare it with the money we spend effectively funding the costs of illegal/legal immigration broken down by country?

    The funds may be better directed at better border controls in the UK and in understanding and countering these large flows of people to our overcrowded island.

    Indeed for those without papers we could pay the claiming ‘safe’ government a per capita fee resettlement fee , if they can identify the individual. I often wonder if this identification could not be done efficiently in the light of current technology, like crimestoppers or similar?

  46. Ralph McHendry
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    The overseas aid budget should be discontinued unless there is a valid business case which supports it. The business case should identify the tangible financial benefits accruing to the UK from the budget and also specify how those benefits can be measured and demonstrated. If there is not demonstrable tangible financial benefit, there must be no overseas aid budget. There are too many domestic priorities which the Government is unable to fund adequately.

  47. Bearsiebob
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    As usual, the problem is the EU. We should leave, drop all trade tarrifs on third world imports and stop paying those countries any aid. Win win win.

  48. David Langley
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    It appears that most contributors have no use for foreign aid at all. It feels sad to try and stop aid to starving children and adults anywhere. My take on this is that building large camps for starving people and then watching them squat in the dust each day waiting for feeding time reminds me of some kind of animal farm.
    All the countries you mention have either sufficient domestic income to be spent wisely on its population, or are so riddled with internecine warfare and tribal power struggles to deserve the condemnation of history and certainly not our funds.
    Giving food aid for total support is bound to result in ownership of the problem and directly the people which is an impossible task. There seems to be little progress in self determination just dependance.
    If a state has failed to the point where it requires aid for its population to survive, then this is a UN problem. We should ensure that a fighting army is mobilised as well as the aid to support the civilian population. Regime change with a firm and civilised ethic. This world is not yet ready for real extreme measures so innocents will continue to be born and die in the food queues.

  49. outsider
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Unlike most of your readers, I do not think the Oversea Aid budget should be abandoned. The idiocy of borrowing money to give away could be applied to most public spending. But the commitment to raise spending in real terms is part of the grandiose fantasy of world leadership that needs to be abandoned if we are to focus our energies on rebuilding a British corporate sector neglected through two decades of precipitous decline.

    So please:
    1) Freeze the aid budget in cash terms.
    2) Run right down our aid to India as programmes mature. Though it has wonderful aims and decent results, it is essentially a subsidy to the Indian federal budget that is no longer appropriate.
    3) EU aid serves good purposes too but should be a vehicle for smaller member states that do not have their own big national aid budgets and need to pool their efforts. I am sure that France, Germany and Spain would agree. The two should complement, not duplicate.
    4) Far more of the non-emergency aid should be channeled through NGOs, particularly specialised British ones.
    5) Like every other department of state , DfID should have a core aim of promoting the British corporate sector. We do not want to go back to the bad old days of giving foreign states money to buy British armaments they do not need, but where projects need to import technology, it should be British and we could emphasize sectors where we are strong, such as pharmaceuticals for small, poor countries that have no prospect of making their own.
    6) Most aid should be co-ordinated (not pooled) through the Commonwealth.
    7) Aid should be focused on countries where an economy of our size can make a real difference to people’s lives and future economic growth, not drops in oceans.
    8) Where aid is political, it should be conditional on ending conflicts, not help to continue them (eg Pakistan).
    9) Research should be halved. Much of it best left to the EU, World Bank and UN. Again, duplication should be avoided.

  50. Matthew
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Suggest that nuclear states, being India and Pakistan are not eligible for aid. – India has an advanced space programme.
    Nigeria has large oil reserves and exports over 2million barrels day, yet 70% of the population are officially below the poverty line. Corruption is rife – not a good candidate for aid.

    I like the idea of aid where the British government actually pays for and administers schemes, such as providing medical care to regions, fresh water, and schools.

    Aid should focus too on the private sectors in recipient countries that can produce economic growth. Such growth must be an essential objective of aid.

    Keep an aid contingency (assume that we do) for natural disasters.

  51. Christopher Ekstrom
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    The US will slash its foreign aid by 30% under Romney. The Tea Party movement just elected Ted Cruz in the Texas GOP primary: he will win the election & the most prominent Tea Party Conservative will be a very powerful Senator. Dump that sissy SamCam & end your foreign aid.

  52. zorro
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    Oh yes plenty of money to spend on Landcruisers and expensive hotels…..Don’t forget lavish conferences discussing ‘poverty’ and ‘hunger’…..

    Zorro

  53. Frances Matta
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    The BBC has been bleating about famine and various other disasters in Africa for as long as I can remember. The latest bleat is about Niger. What the BBC never mentions is that Niger’s population, during the time our Queen has been on the throne, has gone from about 2.3m to 27m. It is a country that is mostly desert and its population is concentrated in its SW corner where there is some water, but not enough to sustain the birthrate which averages 7 per female.
    Aid in Africa, in particular, seems only to exacerbate Africa’s problems.

    • zorro
      Posted August 1, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

      It’s a bit like in the UK with providing aid/benefits to young women when they have children. It encourages procreation just as the dishing out of continual aid in Africa leads to an increase in childbearing….

      zorro

      • stred
        Posted August 2, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

        Would you have got this through in other blogs? Thanks JR.

  54. Mark
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    I can recall an aid donation many years ago. A Massey-Ferguson tractor – manufactured in the UK – was presented to a local farm about 3 hours’ drive from Mexico City. It was an example of using aid to promote exports, intended to encourage further sales in competition with the US, though I don’t believe it had much influence.

    Other projects were somewhat grander, such as generators for hydroelectricity plants, intended to influence the local government to support the UK in some aspects of international relations – they were an instrument of foreign policy.

    A few qualified under the heading of disaster relief, though often the motivation was at least in part not to let “undesirable” countries establish a position of influence in the turmoil that often follows a major natural disaster, though the competition did at least speed the international response when it was most needed.

    Today it’s all different, of course: it’s “humanitarian”. That can be seen more clearly when you examine the correlation between immigration and aid donations. Whether immigrants come here because the UK advertises itself via aid, or aid is given to countries who originate many of our immigrants is perhaps a slightly more open question. Further analysis might show that even once they have emigrated to the UK, in effect there is a large hidden aid flow via income remittances and welfare payments in the UK.

    http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/taxonomy/index.html?nscl=Population+by+Nationality+and+Country+of+Birth

    http://www.dfid.gov.uk/About-us/How-we-measure-progress/Aid-Statistics/Statistics-on-International-Development-2011/SID-2011-Tables-Index/

    Labour force participation data by ethnicity:

    http://www.poverty.org.uk/47/index.shtml

    It would appear that neither aid nor migration solves the problems, while imposing a burden the country has to borrow to afford. Perhaps we should instead pursue trade that has the potential to be of mutual benefit, as the economic development of the Commonwealth once showed.

  55. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    Why do we give aid to India, which is not overall a very poor country. The “money has wings” arguement applies in spades to India. There are large income disparities, and areas of poverty as a consequence. Because we are willing to spend money on poverty alleviation in India, it means that the Indian government can (and does) spend money on nuclear weapons. If you consider that a nuclear war between India and Pakistan is one of the biggest threats to world peace that there is, our behaviour is not too clever.

  56. John Harrison
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    Far more money in the form of private investment than we could ever give in aid would pour into these countries if they could get rid of corruption and establish secure property rights for foreign investors. Kenya, Zimbabwe and Uganda were quite propsperous countries until the dictators (one of whom, sadly, is still in place) started stealing property and giving it to their cronies.

  57. Bernard Juby
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    How much does India spend on levelling out the vast rishes and the abject poverty that exists in their society? Let them put their own house in order first.

    • Bazman
      Posted August 2, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      Yeah! ….. India is a massively divided country with a tiny rich elite that could not care less. A bit like you in fact.

  58. waramess
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    Do we really need the strong arm of government forcing us, often against our better judgement and always regardless of our will, to forcefully sequest the product of our labours to give to others. What on earth are governments supposed to be for and what on earth are charities meant to be for?

    This is yet another act of pure socialism dressed up in moralistic clothes that defy us to criticise on the usual grounds of humanity.

    People were not backward in coming forward after the Tsunami but I expect they would be less generous in contributing towards tree planting in China.

    Government is now totally out of control and the sooner they are in the same place as the Greek government and unable to obtain more credit, the better.

  59. waramess
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    Having read through the comments there seems to be scant support for Overseas Aid. Maybe Daves mates in the Liberal and Socialist benches will support him

  60. Jon
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    For a start Aid should not go via the EU or paid to them to distribute. We didn’t agree to that (the electorate that is) and have no real democratic control over how its spent.

    To be fair this government seems to have directed aid better than the previous. There is less controversy when it comes to the money being spent on vaccinations. Targeted areas where we have control over (so thats not the EU) and know that it ends up in the right place.

    Before Sudan split into two countries it had received billions in aid from. A couple of years ago I read that the only tarmac’d road in Sudan was a private one built by a Chinese oil company, yet the rulers are well healed. Aid in the traditional sense does not work and if anything has helped to keep the poor in Africa poor. I don’t think they will thank us as the result of the West maintaining the status quo will mean the africans waking up to find the chinese and indians owning Africa.

    What would help more is for the EU to make it easier for the local trader to trade. That would bring in money direct to the villages and towns. Instead they pay a high price to train health workers that leave for Europe and Europe in turn pays aid to the rulers and sends health workers there. Its all bonnkers. Atleast things like vaccinations don’t get embroiled so much in this farce.

  61. Lady Carole
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    All aid is counter productive in that it encourages dependance on the aid .It is pointless aiding places like Pakistan and any other moslem nation as these are wether we like it or not our future enemy .The whole of Africa is a waste of time due to the american policy forced on the world 50 years ago so let uncle sam provide all the aid or not as he sees fit .Britain is no longer the mighty world force militarily or economically that it once was so lets stop pretending please

  62. Bazman
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    I might blacklist this site for political reasons and for its failure to recognise the threat to society and democracy of the blacklisting of tradesmen. Stasi does not even cover it. Go on Tory. Make my day. LOL! Blacklist this…!

    • zorro
      Posted August 2, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

      No please, make our day… 🙂

      zorro

    • stred
      Posted August 2, 2012 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

      I am a client who thinks he has been blacklisted by tradesmen. They give me a quote, again and again. I agree and then they don’t turn up.. Maybe I’m as mad as you are?

      • Bazman
        Posted August 4, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

        I am pretty mad when they do not turn up. Tell them how it is on the phone. They appreciate the feed back. Usually smell these ones out first. That however is not the point. The silence on this subject is telling…

  63. Campbell
    Posted August 2, 2012 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Overseas aid is always a contentious topic. Why do we do it? Is it to salve the tender consciences of left-leaning politicians, who enjoy the luxury of being sniffy about the colonial times that built Great Britain to the point where it could actually afford to aid others, or is it a genuine attempt to be nice to people we perceive as worse off than ourselves? Isn’t that rather patronising? I think that the worst possible way we could aid anyone is by allowing politicians to decide where the largesse goes. Why would a nominally christian country subsidise some whose religious intention is to wipe anyone who doesn’t share their beliefs off the map? Why do we not hear of fabulously wealthy Saudi Arabia & other oil-rich nations aiding Somalia, Pakistan & others? The EU is the most corrupt & inefficient body that has been created in years, yet we seem to be happy to allow billions to flow into their unaudited coffers, & never know whether any of it is used in ‘overseas aid’. The Chinese are not noted for their charity, yet they have increasing influence in poorer lands. They wish to take mineral & other resources out, so they build a bit of infrastructure that suits their needs, & target the people who’ll be willing to allow them access for a reasonable sum. That’ll hold good until they are strong enough to walk in & kick the locals about without paying anything. The west, meanwhile, has its head in the sand, & continues to purchase its own downfall by paying out for oil mainly produced in countries dominated by Islamists. Oil has become an economic weapon. Aid, even where moderately successful, doesn’t save many children. Studies in the past showed that fertility rates increased where poverty is rife, as old mother nature tried to make up for increasing death-rates. By artificially keeping people alive we simply make the planet more crowded. Britain is no longer a sturdy country, workshop of the world & benevolent despot. We no longer have the clout to stride about on the world stage, not least because we cannot back up anything we say. Does anyone think that having troops dying in Afghanistan is going to make a ha’porth of difference to that benighted land? Countries such as India, China, the USA & many others regard the UK as a has-been, a dwarf who imagines himself an emperor, & a figure of fun. With so many problems at home – largely engineered by our supremely stupid political class – only a completely blind idiot would continue to throw money down the black hole of overseas aid.

  64. Andrew Johnson
    Posted August 2, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    No Government money to any “charity” home or abroad. Charities should only be supported by the free will giving of the public. Only aid in kind for emergencies delivered through NGO’s whose adminstrative costs do not exceed 10%. Open trade channels that are fair to the developing country. Help countries to help themselves with tech expertise for projects originated by the developing country.
    I wonder how many of your readers realise that often before any “aid” can be delivered, even in the most dire of emergencies, the givers have to pay a tax on the value of the aid (usually the cost of the aid being given) and or special custom duties. e.g. A million pounds of aid delivered can cost the donor more than £2.5 million. Some of us long for the day when governments will govern in the interests of all their citizens.

  65. Conrad Jones (Cheam)
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Why are we sending Aid to India when there are stories about “BAe Systems” competing against the French Firm “Dassault” for Indian Fighter Jet Contracts?

    If the Indian Government has enough money to buy Fighter Jets – shouldn’t they be providing the “Aid” themselves?

    If the Indian Government doesn’t care about poverty in their own Country – why should we ?

  66. Conrad Jones (Cheam)
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    India has become a popular destination for Offshore Tax Havens.

    There is poverty in India – as the UK is supplying Aid for India.

    India has a Space Program and is spending more are Weapons.

    BAe is competing against Dassault – are Aid Programs being used as sweeteners for the Indian Government to choose BAe ? It’s the only thing that makes sense.

    Indian Government is setting restrictions on how Gold is purchased – following the French and Austrian models of Gold Purchase restrictions. The Indian Economy is booming – so why do they need Aid from us ?

    • Bazman
      Posted August 5, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      The Indian economy is booming? The middle classes are really little more than a few percent and middle class can in many cases mean being able to afford a 11p cup of coffee. 700 million have just been affected by a power cut.

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted August 7, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

        The main aid agencies (World Bank, Asian Development Bank) have two categories of country. There are dirt poor countries, who receive outright grants. There are countries, no longer quite so poor, that receive cheap loans at a low interest rate based on (you’ll just love this one) LIBOR.

        I worked in Sri Lanka between May and December 2011. They have moved up from the dirt poor category to the not quite so poor category. Another factor is the ADB Safeguard Policy of 2009, which states that squatters who have built on illegally occupied land have the same legal rights as people with legal title. It applies alike to squatters who have been in residence since 1947 and squatters who have just moved in. It’s not the sort of policy that endears you to national governments.

        Sri Lanka and India make an interesting contrast. Sri Linka has a welfare system of sorts that covers about 25% of the population. The average Sri Lankan family spends over 50% of its disposable income on food, so the lowest 25% are pretty poor. India doesn’t do welfare (? must check). India has been growing at 8% pa. The Sri Lankan president says that Sri Lanka will now grow at 8% rather than the post WW2 average of under 5%. The reasons he gives are the move to a planned economy and the peace dividend. It reminds me of Harold Wilson, who said that the introduction of a planned economy would enable the UK to lift its growth rate from 2.75% pa to 4.25% pa. That didn’t last long. India has been growing at 8% for quite a long time. Sri Lanka has been growing at between 7 and 8% for a couple of years but inflationary pressures are building up.

        • Lindsay McDougall
          Posted August 7, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

          Sorry, that should be ‘………….. the same compensation rights ……..’

  67. poko74
    Posted September 5, 2012 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Where does our overseas aid go?
    I thank John for giving us some kind of breakdown on where the Monies
    are going BUT,If I wanted to do a more thorough check where would I look.
    Are these figures of PUBLIC Monies published for PUBLIC gaze?
    If any one can give me any Information that would help me I would be very grateful.
    I await for any response.
    Thank You

  68. Dr Bowen-Walker
    Posted December 30, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    During a broadcast in 2011 in which a representative from the Institute for Fiscal Studies was asked to outline (Net) what membership of the EU cost the UK – the figure given was £3-4 billion annually. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-15387495). The interviewee went on to state this net contribution would “increase significantly” over the next few years because the rebate was decreasing!

    The real cost of the EU budget however should be measured in terms of what membership entails overall. For example, the cost to business of implementing EU regulations, the loss of exclusive access to UK fish stocks, the redistribution of UK wealth to other parts of the EU (e.g. Polish people have been calculated to receive £166 for every £63 they put into the EU; which contrasts markedly with what a UK citizen contributes [£440] yet receives only £312. (See http://www.democracymovementsurrey.co.uk/dyk_eucosts.html). The actual annual cost of EU membership to the UK has been estimated to fall between £40-65 billion per year (but would not all come from central government).

    To illustrate the size of our net contribution to the EU – even taking the agreed net loss of £3-4 billion as the point for discussion; the UK secondary school budget in 2011 was only £2.1 billion. (http://www.ukpublicspending.co.uk/year_spending_2011UKbn_09bc1n_20#ukgs302 )

    If we include the money “given away” to foreign countries as a part of the UK “overseas aid budget” (an euphemism for political leverage in unstable and often corrupt countries – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-20553872) – “The UK spent £7.8bn on aid in 2011 and this is set to rise to £11bn by 2015” (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-19351396 ) – then our total “give away” to other countries is in the order of about £15 billion every year!

    £15 billion given away every year is shocking. It amounts to the whole UK budget for protection (police, courts, fire service, prison service) or to put it another way this is more than all the money given to universities and secondary schools in 2010 (the figure was about £11bn in government grants covering undergraduate and post-graduate teaching, research funding and infrastructure) and which has now been cut back to almost nothing. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-11550619 )

    The question is rather simple – do we value the security and future of our own citizens more than those in other countries (either in Europe and worldwide – I see no reason to consider one group more or less intrinsically worthy than the other) or do we not?

    We face a difficult set of circumstances economically. This will only become more difficult in future as other ascendant nations produce more and more educated citizens and in whose countries there are far greater natural resources then we have at home.

One Trackback

  • By Week of July 31 – Aug 6 | US Daily Review on August 1, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    […] Where does our overseas aid go? The government has kept its promise to increase the amount of our money it spends on overseas aid.  Last year saw the Department for International development increase its spending to £7.87 billion from £7.48 billion the year before. […]

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