Where is Overseas Aid when you need it?

The decision of the UK to guarantee it would spend 0.7% of its National Income every year on Overseas Aid has been contentious. Some dislike the idea of committing to spend without assessing need and capacity to spend wisely. Some dislike the way the UK is one of the few countries to honour this international obligation whilst rich countries like Germany (0.5%), Italy (0.2%) and France (0.37%) do not bother. Some just think we have more pressing priorities at home and should confine overseas aid spending to crises and humanitarian disasters.

Most people in the UK probably agree with  the government -as I do – that  the UK should send immediate relief to British territories in the Caribbean to provide food, shelter, clothing, and medical assistance to those caught up in the disaster. Most probably also think the UK should help those countries rebuild their shattered towns and homes by offering practical and financial help. Surely this would be a cause for overseas aid that would unite more people than it would divide? What better use of part of our large overseas aid budget?

However, the spending of overseas aid is subject to rules and guidance from an international body. Apparently the Caribbean islands concerned did not have a low enough national income when the hurricane struck to qualify for overseas aid. I fear the hurricane has taken care of this in the short term, but international accounting definitions and data seem to be getting in the way of commonsense. I hope our Overseas Aid Secretary gets them to think again. I would like us to be generous to help these islands, and think it should be paid for out of our substantial Overseas Aid budget.

I expect the government to lobby for a change of definitions. As one of the few countries that hits the international target we should have some leverage on this matter.

While we are about it, they also need to review definitions of which military expenditure counts as Overseas Aid. When we commit our forces to peace keeping or peace making in a civil war torn country, that too should count. Peace keeping is often a crucial step to restoring or crating prosperity in a poor country. Without a peace businesses cannot flourish and people find it difficult to go about earning their living.

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138 Comments

  1. Leslie Singleton
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 5:13 am | Permalink

    Dear John–Why do we have to care what some International body has to say? It is hardly as if we are evading our responsibilities–Seems absurd that other countries do not reach compliance at all yet we in compliance are at the mercy of definitions–In any event surely it is a time for discretion–We should worry less about what others think and do what we know to be right.

    Reply Because we live by the rule of law and Parliament has legislated to require government to spend 0.7% as defined by an international body

    • Dame Rita Webb
      Posted September 15, 2017 at 7:05 am | Permalink

      It will be interesting to see if the French and Dutch get some EU cash to rebuild their territories. If they do and we do not get any its time to pull the plug on any further contributions. However we will not because its “part of a binding treaty” and we just have to keep coughing up.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted September 15, 2017 at 7:21 am | Permalink

      Against the wishes of the Electorate. Spraying borrowed money on aid when the Royal Navy is short of manpower and fuel.
      A total disgrace and if you even contemplate giving a divorce settlement to Brussels you should be out of power for a century.

    • Hope
      Posted September 15, 2017 at 8:10 am | Permalink

      Who cares what the rules say, just do it. Is there anyone with a backbone in your govt? How can the EU spend our overseas aid on exoctic fish mating programmed and tribute spice girls bands and yet not on people in need. EU receives a sixth of our overseas aid to spend as it wishes, about £2 billion. This nonsense needs to stop. However, you point out the looney tune MP have no desire to stop wasting our taxes in this way. Therefore you are whining about something that you and your party support.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted September 15, 2017 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

        Do it, and then ask Parliament to agree or disagree with it.

        • Hope
          Posted September 16, 2017 at 8:08 am | Permalink

          This is an emergency and the govt follows bureaucracy! Good grief, says it all.

    • Dave K
      Posted September 15, 2017 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      Answer – Remove or modify that legislation then. If Germany has no such law, why should we? It’s about time the bunch of virtues signallers up in Westminster got a reality check.

    • Richard
      Posted September 15, 2017 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      We can do overseas aid without the help of some international body surely? Anyone else had enough of ‘international bodies’?

      • Dame Rita Webb
        Posted September 15, 2017 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

        Mrs May should be asking, like Stalin, just how many divisions does the OECD have? The ineptness of HMG at the moment is on a par with the War Office’s performance during the Crimean war.

        • ian wragg
          Posted September 15, 2017 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

          I’ve just learnt from ConHome that it was Cameron that insisted the aid be dished out under OECD rules. What a stupid person to give control of a major department to an unelected outfit. …oh. just remembered he wanted us to stay in the corrupt and unaccountable EU

      • Mitchel
        Posted September 15, 2017 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

        If we don’t do “international bodies” our well-remunerated imperial wannabee class will become irrelevant (and redundant).That would never do!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 15, 2017 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      Does the legislation deny the minister any discretion at all?

      If so, was that because the opposition parties pretended to fear that the government could use the Act as a “power grab” and so undermine our parliamentary democracy, as they are now claiming with the EU withdrawal Bill?

    • James Matthews
      Posted September 15, 2017 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply. Parliament passed the relevant legislation. Parliament can change or repeal it. More simply we could also legislate to provide the relevant assistance, not seek to categorize it as aid within the international aid definition and simply fail to meet the 0.7% target, just like everyone else.

      Can you honestly hold out the slightest hope that we would manage to get the international definitions change in the foreseeable future (oe ever)?

    • Dave K
      Posted September 15, 2017 at 9:19 am | Permalink

      Reply to Reply: I have just read – “The legal duty can’t be enforced through the courts but the International Development Secretary has to explain herself to parliament if we don’t meet it”.

      My suggestion would be to spend the money on this disaster relief and then when she has to explain stand up and say “Hurricane Irma” and sit back down.

      At present we are one of only 6 countries who achieve this target: https://fullfact.org/media/uploads/International%20Aid%20Rankings.jpg
      (Don’t know if you can add pictures).

      To those who think that every inhabitant of these islands is wealthy I would point out that there are no chests of doubloons and Jack Sparrow is an actor called Depp.

      • Mark B
        Posted September 15, 2017 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

        i did not see India, China, Russia, not one single Central, or South American country. And as for Africa ?!?!??!

        Funny that !

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted September 15, 2017 at 9:28 am | Permalink

      Dear John–Yes fine and sanctimonious and sounding like something out of Handel’s Messiah but for me Parliament should stick to its knitting–More direct Government I say–Do the Swiss even have an “Overseas Budget”?

      • hefner
        Posted September 15, 2017 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

        Yes, Switzerland has an overseas budget of 0.49% (2015) and SwissContact is one of the important development agencies getting money from partly the federal budget, and a non-negligible fraction (20 to 40 % depending on year and projects) from Swiss companies.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted September 15, 2017 at 9:33 am | Permalink

      I did wonder why the definition mattered. What silly legislating. All for show methinks

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 15, 2017 at 9:52 am | Permalink

      Top down laws written by people who do not have a clue about life at the coal face –
      nearly always means that the law is an ass. Common law is a far better approach.

      Listening to the House of Lords or Parliament discussing anything that I know a little about – say business, engineering, education, taxation, economics and energy and it is very clear they most are totally clueless.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted September 15, 2017 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

        May is ‘frustrated’ by aid rules it seems – well she could always change the rules or has that not occurred to her?

    • Tom Rogers
      Posted September 15, 2017 at 11:05 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply:

      I think Leslie Singleton was asking why we don’t use our discretion to pay the overseas aid anyway, not why we fund overseas aid in conformity with international obligations.

      Personally I don’t believe we should pay overseas aid at all. It should be left to charities, but Leslie Singleton’s question is relevant and if for the moment we adopt the assumption that overseas aid should be funded, then I too am unclear as to why we are slavishly following international definitions. The 0.7% is not a cap, after all.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted September 15, 2017 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

        Indeed leave money with individuals and let them be generous with their own money rather than this government know best approach.

        The government that though the ERM and EURO were great plans, HS2 was great too and even decided to clad tower blocks in flammable insulation (to meet silly greencrap targets and save sixpence or something in fuel bills) and then told the tenants to go back to their flats when the fire was clearly out of control.

        I rather expect another Hillsborough type of cover up but it will be rather harder for the them this time – given all the evidence and footage.

    • Chris
      Posted September 15, 2017 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply: I suspect this is just hiding behind the law, and as another commenter writes there will be some emergency discretion. Parliaments can act quickly enough if they want to in order to change the law. This is time for emergency legislation, and blow the winding up of Parliament for the Conference season. This is very serious and requires the government to act with backbone and immediately.

      Parliamentarians seem to have been emasculated by their reliance on Brussels for so many years. Let us now have those Parliamentarians really earning their keep for the good of this country and our overseas UK territories.

      • Timaction
        Posted September 16, 2017 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

        MP productivity seems to be in doubt once again. So much pay and rises during austerity for a part time unqualified job where common sense is left at the door of Parliament. Stop the 07% must spend and deal with humanitarian emergencies managed by people who are volunteers from the private sector. Non Political and no interference from them or give us Norwegian politicians who look after their own!

    • Dennis
      Posted September 15, 2017 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      Why did Parliament legislate that? No MP had the foresight at the time to foresee what could happen? Tells a lot about the thinking capacity of MPs.

      • ian wragg
        Posted September 15, 2017 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

        They don’t think, they virtue signal with other peoples money.
        It’s time the swamp was drained.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted September 15, 2017 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

        They just go with pathetic “virtue signalling” or go along with whatever seems fashionable at the time or worse still move to protect their “consultancy” fee income or that of their friends.

    • getahead
      Posted September 15, 2017 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

      In which case the law is an ass.

  2. Dame Rita Webb
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    And why are the ministers and civil servants kowtowing to the OECD? Barbuda is described as now being “uninhabitable” while “poorer” Ethiopia received UK taxpayers money for its own version of the “Spice Girls”. Keen readers of the FT will have noted that Ethiopia’s national airline is trying to acquire one of Nigeria’s airlines not exactly a basket case? JR perhaps with this lack of application of common sense and subservience to IGOs you might now understand why the voters hold Whitehall and Westminster in such contempt?

  3. Roy Grainger
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    WHy not just ignore the international body ?

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted September 15, 2017 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      Oh I see you answered, because Parliament decided.

  4. Lifelogic
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    Indeed having virtue signaling targets and restrictive rules for overseas aid is absurd. We should do it when in makes sense so to do and as the need arises. Flexability and sensible peoe in charge of it is what is needed.

    Rather odd that Osborne seems to have such a pathetic and viceral dislike of T May. To me they are both very similar. Both are tax, borrow and waste, climates alarmist socialists and clearly economic illiterates who both wanted to remain in the EU and were both prepared to lie to deceive the voters to that end.

  5. sm
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    From the reports I have read, it appears that disaster relief cannot come from the International Development budget, under OECD rules. As someone commented elsewhere, we do not plug holes in the NHS by taking money from the Defence budget.

    However…..as you state, John, the whole system of aid to other countries has become a bureaucrat’s dream but a taxpayer’s nightmare of irrationality.

    • David Murfin
      Posted September 15, 2017 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      “we do not plug holes in the NHS by taking money from the Defence budget.”
      Don’t we? Doesn’t it just wait for the budget?

    • Tom Rogers
      Posted September 15, 2017 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      This explains it better, but if this overseas aid is so important, then why shouldn’t the required money be taken from spending in some other areas, such as health or education?

      I don’t agree with overseas aid at all, but we have it, so the question arises: if there were a similarly critical crisis in health or education in this country, we would divert the resources and spend what we had to, so why not spend the money on this? There isn’t really any sound reason, but there is an explanation – which is that the government doesn’t believe in overseas aid any more than I do, it’s just virtue signalling.

      The same job could be done by private charities – and more efficiently too. The whole budget represents a waste of our money, for the sake of looking good – which is the real scandal.

      My question to Mr Redwood: when are we going to withdraw from the treaty obligation and cease payments of overseas aid?

      Reply No signs of that. I think there remains a majority in the Commons to continue with this international obligation.

      • DaveM
        Posted September 15, 2017 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

        But it’s utterly pathetic. The govt reaps our taxes and earmarks cash for foreign aid, then when there’s someone who actually bloody needs it you can’t spend it!

        Is it because you know we’ll cough up anyway? I thought MPs were accountable to their constituents not some international bureaucracy. If that’s the case, what’s the point of Parliament?

  6. Mark B
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    My view of the Overseas Aid fiasco is one of governance. I was never consulted or asked if I wanted to hand over 0.7% (for now, but it will rise like it did before) of my wealth, either by GE Manifesto pledge or, referendum.

    If the UK cannot secure a sensible outcome then it is time to reduce it, but set-aside the difference for such terrible situations. I do not know if this is at all possible but I think it is time we started to get tough with those, and not just the EU but the UN as well that likes to tell us what to do, and who think our money is theirs – it is NOT !!

    And I think it is also important that the UK Government start to consider thinking about what it signs us up to. I am sick of being used for a bit of political virtue signalling by various parties.

    Oh, and please Mr. Redwood MP sir, can we do something about any so called charities that will try and profit from these poor souls via our pockets. Enough of these Carpet-Baggers !

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 15, 2017 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      Why not have democratic overseas aid by giving people a tax cut and let them give if they want to, they would do it rather more efficiently than governments do.

      Ministers always say we are a generous nation fine lets be generous rather than have the government confiscate the money off us giving us little choice.

      The same should apply to the BBC tax, the NHS, education and lots of other areas where the government (quite wrongly) thinks it knows best.

  7. Dave Andrews
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 6:10 am | Permalink

    Any aid sent to the Caribbean should take into account the wealth of the residents there.
    British Virgin Islands levies no taxes on them, so isn’t it about time they paid their way?

    • a-tracy
      Posted September 15, 2017 at 10:25 am | Permalink

      Good Point

    • Mark
      Posted September 15, 2017 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

      Most of the wealth parked in BVI doesn’t belong to residents: they earn a modest crust by looking after it in a competitive market for asset custody. At the moment, much of it is probably inaccessible, stored as bits in bank accounting records on computer hard disks. The owners and indeed the custodians will be hoping that the disks were not damaged, and that there are good backups held elsewhere.

  8. Lifelogic
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    I usually fine myself agreeing with Reece Mogg on most things but yesterday he described Osborne in glowing terms, the man was an appalling chancellor and is clearer even more bitter that the dire Ted Heath. His views, where his religion take over from his brain, are rather odd to say the least. How do you square such pro life views with wanting capital punishment to reduce prison populations. What next their organs being used too?

    So even he is rather going off the rails. Such is the power of religion over reason even is relatively sensible people.

    Reply There is no leadership vacancy and Mr Rees Mogg is not a candidate, so I am not sure why you are picking on him out of all the MPs who express views.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted September 15, 2017 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      JRM actually said Osborne was “a less successful version of Ted Heath” which hardly counts as glowing praise !

      • Lifelogic
        Posted September 15, 2017 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

        I heard him on LBC saying he was a formidable force something or other but regretting his attacks on May.

        Osborne was an economic illiterate who has done much economic, fiscal and electoral damage.

    • Peter
      Posted September 15, 2017 at 9:09 am | Permalink

      The reaction in the media to Rees Mogg reflects a long held anti Christian and – more specifically – anti Catholic bias.

      Rees Mogg explained that there are free votes around topics like gay marriage and abortion. So his leadership would not necessarily signal a change in the law.

      If he were a Muslim awkward questions such as these would be avoided lest the journalist were tarnished as a racist. However, for Catholics it is always open season.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted September 15, 2017 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

        I am against irrational belief systems in general, but clearly some are far worse than others. But should young children’s minds be indoctrinated in such irrational beliefs from birth or at school?

    • Norman
      Posted September 15, 2017 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      Lifelogic: ‘How do you square such pro life views with wanting capital punishment…?
      Answer: Sanctity of life, and absolute accountability. Hence The Cross, and the redemptive price that had to be paid there – ‘THE JUST FOR THE UNJUST’. Replace that with bare rationalism, and you can justify anything – as seen last century under both Nazi and Communist dictatorships. (BTW, I am not necessarily defending J Rees-Mogg, or any particular religion. Some truths are self evident to those who have eyes to see. I am reluctant in contending thus, but as in countering the prevailing BBC-speak, someone has to! 🙂

      • Lifelogic
        Posted September 15, 2017 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

        “Sanctity of life” unless of course they are the Birmingham 6 or the Guildford 4 or the many others falsely imprisoned?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 15, 2017 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      Because I am disappointed that someone, who is usually rational & sensible, can be so distracted by irrational “belief” systems. He even wants even more schools segregated by religion. Did he not observe Northern Ireland for years?

      He is quite right on “food banks” though they are not a sign of failure just a sign that people want to help and people like free things.

      The state has trouble doing anything much at all well, they – certainly cannot do everything. So this charitable help is surely a good thing and not a sign of failure.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted September 15, 2017 at 9:46 am | Permalink

        A shame the left have grabbed it for political ends just as they are doing with Grenfell Tower.

        What the latter especially shows is just how incompetent the state sector, building regulators, councils and fire regulators can actually be even with all the tax payers money they grab.

        Even telling people to stay in their flats for house when the fire was clearly out of control on the outside of the building within a few minutes. As could be clearly seen by anyone looking!

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted September 15, 2017 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      Dear John–Maybe you should study Mr Rees-Mogg because he unequivocally does it for me and as for LL’s contrast between abortion and capital punishment he (LL) should maybe try to understand better that unborn babies are innocent whereas murderers are guilty–Nothing too hard to understand there. Back to Rees-Mogg, I don’t think I have heard his views on Overseas Aid.

    • Beecee
      Posted September 15, 2017 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      The glowing terms were used to contrast the intelligent man he was with the bitter twisted person he seems to have become, emphasis on the latter.

      Mr Reece Mogg’s use of language to describe this was excellent.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted September 15, 2017 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

        Indeed but Osborne is an economic dope and an appalling chancellor not at all “formidable”. Mogg was far too polite (as he usually is).

    • James Matthews
      Posted September 15, 2017 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      “How do you square such pro life views with wanting capital punishment to reduce prison populations”. Easily. No foetus ever deliberately killed anyone else or recklessly killed someone else during the course of criminal assault.

  9. Bryan Harris
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    It is totally unacceptable that we should be restrained, in any way, by an inflexible international body … Who signed us up to this nonsense
    You’d think the UK would be very careful at signing binding international treaties, after our experiences with the EU…. but I somehow doubt it – some see such treaties as “the way forward” …. but towards what? FGS
    The time is overdue for a review of treaties, especially those with the UN – let’s see what successive governments have done to give power away to the unaccounatable unelected!

    Reply The UK Parliament signed up to this, and placed an obligation on government to pay the money according to their definitions.

    • eeyore
      Posted September 15, 2017 at 6:41 am | Permalink

      Several comments this morning expressing incredulity that the UK should play by the rules. Well, I’m glad we do. We have high standards of probity here, and that’s how it should be. If the rules are stupid let’s get them changed. Until then let’s keep our word.

      • Bryan Harris
        Posted September 15, 2017 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

        You’re right – I would just say that these rules should be vetted very closely before we sign up to irrational ideas.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted September 15, 2017 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

        But this is not in fact the UK v some international body and its rules, it is the UK government v the UK Parliament and its Act, and moreover that Act only requires the minister to explain why the 0.7% target has not been met …

    • Bryan Harris
      Posted September 15, 2017 at 7:07 am | Permalink

      That is part of the problem JR – it takes away our options….

      I would like to see all treaties, that give away any authority to make decisions for us, put to a national referendum – there has been far too much signing away of our interests without real debate.
      The UN treaties are an example of the way we now do less thinking for ourselves – this has to change, as a country we are better able to function above the lowest common denominator of agreement.

    • Cheshire Girl
      Posted September 15, 2017 at 7:10 am | Permalink

      The commitment to give this amount to Foreign Aid every year, was made by our Government, without any consultation with the Taxpayer, who has to pay for it . This is just one instance of ‘virtue signalling ‘ to make the Government look ‘caring’.
      This should be ( and probably could be) cut immediately, and a fund established for disasters’ only: ie earthquakes, floods etc. and no other country/body should be able to tell us how to spend our own money.

      When is our Government going to show some backbone! I dont expect it to be any time soon!

    • Know-Dice
      Posted September 15, 2017 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      “Who signed us up to this nonsense”

      I remember Nick Clegg saying “how proud he was of this”, so I guess the answer is the 2010 Coalition Government…and Parliament.

      • Bryan Harris
        Posted September 15, 2017 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

        Oh boy, and he has so much to be proud of – NOT

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted September 15, 2017 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      Dear John–I venture to suggest that Bryan’s point is that. at a guess, 90% of our population despise Parliament for voting this in–Virtue signalling par excellence–Doubly so given so many problems of our own. On something like this which everybody can understand I see no reason why we need MP’s at all–All they do is get in the way of the obvious.

      Reply My point is the government has to obey the law, and there is no majority in this present Parliament for repeal of the Overseas Aid legislation.

      • Bryan Harris
        Posted September 15, 2017 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

        …and that is why such things should be decided by a national referendum

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted September 15, 2017 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

          Dear Bryan–Very much agreed–Indeed I have been saying this here for years–There was a time centuries ago when we had no choice other than to have MP’s relay our opinions, but not any more. There may be some questions as regards which MP’s chewing over issues in a debating chamber can serve a purpose but for anything direct, non technical and easy to understand (eg Abortion, Capital Punishment) I have no interest in what MP’s have to say–why on Earth should I? They are not my conscience and a good few of them I would not let tie my shoe. Apart from all else, the idea that MP’s especially these days are elected based on the voters’ opinion of their judgement and intelligence (rather than eg their ability to kiss babies, look good on the tele or have nice legs) is enough to make one laugh.

          • Leslie Singleton
            Posted September 15, 2017 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

            Postscript–And of course I am especially not interested in what EU politicians have to say

          • Bryan Harris
            Posted September 16, 2017 at 6:40 am | Permalink

            Leslie – There are certainly a whole lot of things wrong with the way that we do political bsiness in this country – you’ve highlighted, in essence, the propensity to put charm and PR before ability… and yes, this really needs to change.

            After BREXIT is settled, the next national debate we need to have is what kind of a country we should become, what we need to aim for, work towards – to do that we need to create a BLUEPRINT for the sort of country we would aspire to be.

      • David Price
        Posted September 16, 2017 at 6:07 am | Permalink

        According to the Public Whip website there didn’t seem to be much of a majority of those eligible to vote on the second reading of the Act …

        If the 70%+ of Con/Lab MPs who absented themselves from those divisions had rebelled like the 6-8 brave souls then it would not have passed. This suggests that support for the bill is not that strong and a free vote might offer a different result.

  10. Nig l
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    Only politicians can make this rubbish up and continue to justify the unjustifyable. Like giving money to Chinese factories to help their workers stop smoking plus money to countries with nuclear weapons or space industries,whilst these islands that have been wiped out apparently don’t qualify.

    The government desperate for good news spins the fact we have two new aircraft carriers and are investing in new destroyers but we read today that two thirds of our existing fleet is out of action because there is no money to run or man them and allegedly one of our larger vessels sent in support broke down and was delayed a week. So we can’t defend ourselves but shovel often ineffective foreign aid out to make ourselves look good. The countries that don’t meet their obligations aren’t stupid, they know where their main responsibilities lie.

    If you look at Nelson’s column he has probably got a patch over both eyes!

  11. acorn
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    The OECD is another one of those supranational outfits that’s well passed it’s sell by date. But you would think that the British Virgin Islands, probably the UK’s largest Tax heaven, could rebuild those islands, out of loose change.

    • Mark
      Posted September 15, 2017 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      I found it interesting to see how the OECD had allowed itself to get side-tracked by a load of climate change nonsense in this report:

      http://www.oecd.org/dac/financing-sustainable-development/climateanddisasterresiliencefinancinginsmallislanddevelopingstates.htm

      From the report:

      Small Island Developing States (SIDS): No universally agreed list of SIDS currently exists.

      So change the definition used by the OECD. Twenty minutes in a meeting of OECD ambassadors should do it.

    • hefner
      Posted September 15, 2017 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

      What about asking the hundreds of companies registered at just a few addresses in the BVI (Treasure Islands, Nicholas Shaxson, 2011) to contribute to the reconstruction? After all, they save hundreds of millions (billions?) through this nice “little” gap in taxation, accepted year after year by UK governments of all colours.

  12. Monza 71
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    Our politicians are very good at spending our tax money on things that those who actually pay the bulk of tax don’t agree with.

    A substantial majority of both Houses of Parliament would have preferred not to end the £9.5bn net we waste on the EU so I assume they would not vote for a change in the law on foreign aid to bring back control, to coin a phrase. We could then decide what and who it can be spent on.

    The Government should at least table a bill to show that it at least is responsive to public opinion.

    What side of this argument is our host on ?

  13. Duncan
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    I suspect many fail to grasp the fundamental importance of foreign aid. It’s primary function is the generation of goodwill and goodwill in international politics and commerce can go a long, long way

    Foreign aid can be used to, shall we say, ‘grease the wheels’ of commerce. Yes, it’s raison d’etre is to assist in the alleviation of poverty and suffering and that is to be commended but the non-humanitarian benefits can be significant

    What is grating of course is the manner in which the bureaucratic vested interest feeds off foreign aid like locusts on field of corn. Such is politics

    • Norman
      Posted September 15, 2017 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

      And such is international politics, Duncan. Something like this which started out in 1960, to make life better in the poorer countries of the world, soon gets politicized. The Chinese, for example, are now ‘big’ in Africa: I wonder why? I can see that there is a place for co-ordination in overseas aid, not that should prevent help in emergency scenarios like this one. We should not forget, either, the huge effort by many charities, who are the unsung heroes in many dark places of the world.

  14. APL
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    “The decision of the UK to guarantee it would spend 0.7% of its National Income every year on”

    Turns out it wasn’t a decision of the ‘UK’ as you put it, it was a decision imposed on the UK, by the UN.

    Secondly, we’re not spending 0.7% of our national income, borrowed and printed money isn’t income.

  15. Duncan
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    As an aside and slightly O/T, it is worth reading the comments by Tim Martin (CEO, Wetherspoons) this morning which preface the company’s annual results. The man is a hero who saw the naked political ambition of the EU years ago.

    I won’t go into detail but his essential point is a simple one. The EU political elite will try to punish the UK for leaving the EU even if that damages the economies of EU member states.

    ‘It is my view that the main risk from the current Brexit negotiations is not to Wetherspoon, but to our excellent EU suppliers – and to EU economies. ‘

    Knighthoods due for Redwood, Martin, Farage and all the other anti-EU stalwarts who have been proven true democrats. Your contributions have been immense and have saved the UK from a fate worse than death

  16. MickN
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    I cannot be the only one who is heartily sick to the back teeth that once again we have to borrow billions to give away and to be told by others how we must spend it. This is like the EU mark 2. It stinks.

  17. formula57
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    We learn from Mrs. May that on this matter of use of the aid budget her “hands are tied”. I understand that as clearly as I understand that she should go to make way for someone with the courage and imagination to slice this Gordian Knot.

  18. Prigger
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    So, 0.7% of our money has been signed away to a foreign body by MPs. Then there are the ” “some ongoing obligations” MPs have signed away to the EU. It appears MPs ( please stop saying Parliament, bricks and crumbling mortar do not a a vote ) ), again ,it appears MPs, in socialist fashion are good at spending other people’s money. How daft, you give an “international body”…does it wear fashion clothing and have blonde hair, our money.

    • Robert Christopher
      Posted September 15, 2017 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

      The latest, certainly not, and yes.

      • Prigger
        Posted September 18, 2017 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

        It is that I can be blindfolded with my back to the target and still hit home. Too easy.

  19. Andy Marlot
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    Absolutely no doubt that aid should be sent to any British territory after a disaster. That is completely justifiable and reasonable. What isn’t justifiable or reasonable is sending aid willy nilly to countries that have no such link with us and no oversight as to what happens to the money. All too often the money ends up in dictators bank accounts or subsidizing large corporations undertaking very dubious projects of no possible value to the local population. Sometimes it is simply a bribe from the UK government to get a country to do what they want. In short- corruption using taxpayers money. It should stop now.

  20. Pragmatist
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    I think JR sticks these “Some dislike the idea of committing to spend without assessing need and capacity to spend wisely” and “I expect the government to lobby for a change of definitions” as a journalistic teaser. “Lobby” to persuade others to spend our money better indeed! Oh do pretty please if at all possible and taking all things into consideration not rip us off. They’re foreigners dammit!

  21. Roger Farmer
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    Stuff the OECD, our commonwealth friends need aid now.
    The World has gone mad if it is allowed to decide who we can spend our taxes on. We need action not debate.
    From Agricola.

  22. Ian Wragg
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    I bet all the French and Dutch colonies have no such restraints. They will just get on with it regardless of jumped up UN inspired rules.
    Give us a Donald.

    • Mitchel
      Posted September 15, 2017 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      A Putin might be more efficacious.

  23. The PrangWizard
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    Bureaucrats and pen-pushers getting in the way of common sense. Whoda thunk it? Nice to think though there may be people having meetings to think about having meetings about ways maybe of getting change. Good Luck with that.

    If Mrs May would stop her pathological dithering and break into the Overseas Aid budget on a ‘shoot first and answer questions afterwards’ basis, she might do herself some good and the get image of this country a bit of much needed credit. The niceties of international law is of no interest to the people out there when their property has been blown away. I notice she didn’t risk seeing things for herself, far better to stay comfortable in her bunker in No. 10.

    Her and the government’s virtue signalling about the .7% should stop. The fact that it was agreed by parliament is disgraceful. It’s time we started being more assertive and protecting our interests and those of our close friends and relations first. It is not acceptable to fall over backwards to ensure the liberal elites of the world think nice things about us and ludicrous to imagine that we should attempt to cater ensure for the needs of every many and his dog in obscure parts of the world for which we have no responsibility. It is merely an opportunity for the unscrupulous to take us to the cleaners and for individuals to imagine we are a land of milk and honey.

    The same applies to national defence and security, we should indeed break into the same budget, maybe then instead we might be able to afford a navy worth having, for example. At present it can’t even protect itself, let alone the seas around us and our overseas territories and sea routes. And as for our coast, a few marine police in a rigid inflatables and three coastguard ships insults us. Did she have a look at what the Japanese do to protect their coasts when she was out there? I believe they have close on 100 coastguard ships.

  24. Bob
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    Apart from the £13bn it squanders on virtue signalling each year, DfID spends another £140m to administer the squandering.

    Do our MPs really need help to work out better ways to spend our money?

    Maybe if the Tory manifesto had contained a pledge to scrap the 0.7%, their election result wouldn’t have be such a disaster.

  25. gregory martin
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    A scheme such as Lease-Lend would enable provision of fuel, food plant & machinery without use of the existing Aid contribution, with a gain of goodwill and strategic facility.

  26. Bob
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    I see that the Question Time panel had one Brexiter vs four Remainers last night, and when this fact was mentioned by the lone Brexiter, Will Self said that it probably reflected public opinion. He obviously doesn’t speak to many people outside of the metro elite bubble where he resides.

    Don’t forget Mr Redwood, 16th October – Parliament debates the Licence Fee, put it in your diary.

  27. majorfrustration
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    Why should we have to “Lobby” If other countries can get away with not meeting their commitments why on earth in times of need should we follow the rules. So typical UK and so PC

  28. Bert Young
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    Our Overseas Aid is abused in so many ways ( grants for the most undeserving reasons ) mean that it ought to be stopped . The present need for help in the Caribbean should not be side-lined by rules that we – the subscribers , have not been consulted on . It is true that there are a lot of wealthy people and high valued properties that have been devastated by Irma ; most – if not all of them are probably covered by storm insurance , nevertheless immediate assistance ought not to be denied them .

    I also consider that Overseas Aid should not exist at the expense of so many deserving cases at home ; the proportion of our GDP that we subscribe should be re-examined in the light of what other countries give . An overhaul at this time would be a good thing for the Government to undertake .

  29. MikeP
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    From what you say the solution is clear and simple:
    1 we spend what is required to help our overseas territories to clear up and get back on their feet following the hurricane. That is the humanitarian thing to do
    2 we use funds that would otherwise have been earmarked for “internationally approved” overseas aid
    3 we declare after the event that our other “internationally approved” spend on overseas aid may well be less than 0.7% of GDP this time but it is still higher than other countries so please go after them if you have any problems

    • sm
      Posted September 15, 2017 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      And think of the number of Sir Humphreys who would be frothing at the mouth at these actions!

  30. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    You forgot to mention that the guarantee to spend 0.7% is enshrined in law – the only expenditure the government has legally to spend. I find this totally unacceptable and ludicrous. In addition, there have been countless published example of how much of this money has been foolishly spent and anecdotal evidence of it going to corrupt regimes and benefiting the rich and not those in need. Instead of virtue signalling politicians need to get a proper grip of what they do with taxpayers’ money.

  31. A.Sedgwick
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Revealing how these rules only become widely known in times of crisis.

    Almost daily we hear of payments to countries who spend their resources on e.g. excessive defence. This definition of poor countries, no doubt GDP per head, needs serious revision.

    Then there is the endemic corruption and astronomic administrative baggage.

    Not manifesting to repeal this 0.7% commitment and do our own thing cost May the election in my opinion. Elections can be won and lost on single themes, Corbyn nearly pulled it off on “Austerity”. He certainly has popularised the money tree.

  32. JoolsB
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Ever heard the saying ‘Charity begins at home’? It seems bizarre that our conceited makes them feel good politicians can find 20 billion a year to give away to often not deserving causes and yet when it comes to England’s young, sick and elderly there just ain’t no money.

  33. Pragmatist
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    BBC London Journalists this morning “We do not have any news. ( at least one hour after the event. ) We are frantically looking on Social Media to see what’s going on” ( Parson’s Green Tube explosion )
    If we must pay our TV licence fee then it should be to Twitter and not the BBC. The company needs our support.

  34. Michael
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    Yet another area where we need to take back control. It is plain wrong not to be able to spend our money on what WE want to spend it on.

  35. James Neill
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    The main problem for the world is that there is too much interference from western countries. For instance there are no arms making factories in Africa and yet the whole african continent is full of guns. We give annually large amounts of money to some of these governments but we might as well pour it into a hole in the ground because of the amount of corruption at official level that is going on. We encourage people to live in drought stricken deserts because we have drawn invisible borders on a map for them and when drought strikes we are surprised they are still there. We know that people live in islands in the paths of hurricanes and then fly into a panic when their whole structures are blown away in one storm. Years back they would have had grass huts, easy to replace.

    We have to ask the question- how did these people manage say five hundred years ago before the white man came on the scene and messed things up? and we have to try to get back to that time and to let people get on with their lives without interference including without aid or exploitation from outside

  36. Iain Moore
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    The British Governing classes have promised many things to us but had no problem ratting on their promises, so citing an undertaking to an international body to spend 0.7% of our wealth on Aid is not a very compelling argument, especially when this 0.7% figure has absolutely no basis in logic, for it was figure plucked out of the air by some Christian group more than half a century ago.

    So Mr Redwood are we now to understand , if some promises of fantasy spending made to a discredited body like the UN are now unbreakable , are all the promises politicians make to us something we can now bank as a certainty?

  37. Anonymous
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    If Caribbean tax avoiders had paid more tax in the UK there would be more British money available for aid.

    Having deprived Joe Bloggs of money for his schools ‘n’ ‘ospitals (and demanded he put up with mass immigration to provide their companies’ cheap labour) they now want Bloggsy to stump up and restore the dreamy tax havens from which they refuse to pay tax.

    More front than Hurricane Irma, these basement wine vault dwellers.

    • Anonymous
      Posted September 15, 2017 at 8:57 am | Permalink

      Of course, I would prefer that the 0.7% aid were diverted to the Caribbean rather than to corrupt governments too. But additional aid funding when people are dying in the UK because of austerity ?

    • Dave , Shinfield
      Posted September 15, 2017 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      I notice John doesn’t name exactly which Caribbean Islands he wants us to send aid to. If any of those islands are some of our ruling classes favourite tax havens then I suggest that perhaps some of the money could be raised by levying a special tax on the companies and individuals that like to (quite legally) route their profits that way. It sounds like some of the countries involved haven’t been putting enough away for a rainy day.

  38. Peter
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    UK aid should be decided by the UK government alone. Why are we beholden to an international agreement?

    Much aid is a sweetener for trade of course?

    I would prefer money to be spent on domestic causes, countries with whom we had colonial links and genuine emergencies. Poor countries need to accept their own responsibility to improve their lot rather than rely on handouts.

    I am disturbed by the BBC speculation that May is about to offer £10 billion a year to the EU in ‘transitional’ payments. If true, it would then be time for her to be replaced as Prime Minister.

  39. bigneil
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    Don’t forget to add onto the bill – all the money that is spent HERE in the UK on foreigners. Hundreds of thousands here getting free lives on the taxpayer – every foreigner who has come here just for NHS before flying home – it is effectively the same thing. Foreign Aid – Well off people throwing poorer people’s taxes away to make themselves feel good

  40. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    I’m looking at the International Development (Official Development Assistance Target) Act 2015, and in particular its Section 2:

    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2015/12/section/2/enacted

    “Duty to lay statement before Parliament if 0.7% target not met”

    If diverting some of the allocated foreign aid money into emergency assistance means that officially the 7% target will not be met, then as far as I can see all that is required is for the minister to lay a statement before Parliament explaining why:

    “(1) If an annual report … shows that the 0.7% target has not been met … the Secretary of State must … lay before Parliament a statement … ”

    “(3) A statement … must explain why the 0.7% target has not been met … ”

    If members of either House of Parliament is dissatisfied with the proffered explanation – for example, “I decided to divert some of the allocated development money to emergency humanitarian assistance, even though the islands were quite wealthy before they were devastated by the hurricane” – then they can censure the minister.

    Putting this into summary form, the whole business is all just another load of time and energy wasting tripe generated by the mass media.

  41. agricola
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Tried this morning on my phone as I am away flying sailplanes again.
    Stuff the OECD, the Caribbean needs help now. Overseas Aid has become such a nonsense that it now has no credibility. It would seem to me that it is no more than a glory path for unthinking politician and a bunch of civil servants running around trying to spend it. I should not need to remind you that it is taxpayers money. If it were club funds the treasurer would be kicked out and possibly prosecuted. get a grip and help our fellow commonwealth member now.

  42. Richard Butler
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    Everyone seems to have missed this yesterday;

    Juncker>My working hypothesis is that there will be a deal I don’t want to punish, sanction or make UK suffer

    https://www.outlookindia.com/newsscroll/eus-juncker-says-hard-brexit-unlikely/1146304

  43. Fed Up
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    The government will be forced into a policy change regarding overseas aid – at some point this will become obvious.

    Meanwhile – what has our PM actually done since her ‘enough is enough’ speech to deal with the terrorist threat and spread of extremist Islam around this country? The line that we just have to learn to live with this is NOT GOING TO WASH.

  44. Chris
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    O/T, but why are the papers reporting that May is about to offer a 3 year transitional deal with us paying for single market access, a la Philip Hammond? I believe this is just what the Remainers want as a tool for keeping us in the single market. I think they are banking on May causing such anger amongst the Brexiteers that the government will no longer function properly, meaning that a GE would have to be called. Unless the Cons can come up with a bold Brexiteer leader, then we are doomed to Corbyn and staying in the EU. I still do not think that the Brexiteers i.e. those Conservatives who are fighting to uphold the Referendum result realise what danger they and we are in.

    Reply Again I remind you not to believe everything you read in pro EU papers or hear on the BBC!

  45. The PrangWizard
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    I now read Mrs May is angry, but not angry enough it seems to defy the ‘morons’ running the OECD. Let us not forget that she was in virtue signalling mode not long ago in the HoC when she defended the overseas aid policy in the face of criticism and said she was going to stick with it.

    Meanwhile our Navy is also starved of cash and we can’t get a ship out to the needy because its worn out, but there seems to be plenty of money around for the NHS to be capable of providing cookery lessons for the fat.

    There seem to be a lot of morons around.

  46. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Off-topic, a couple of points Remoaners might care to consider:

    Firstly, out of the mouth of Jean-Claude Juncker himself:

    https://in.reuters.com/article/eu-juncker-trade/update-1-eu-to-race-britain-for-australia-nz-trade-deals-idINL5N1LU315

    “STRASBOURG, Sept 13 (Reuters) – The European Union wants to launch and conclude free trade negotiations with Australia and New Zealand in the next two years, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Wednesday, opening up a potential race with Britain.”

    Well, obviously it won’t be much of a race given that Remoaners have sworn blind that it will take us until the end of time to sort any new trade deals while apparently the EU can get it all done – “launch and conclude free trade negotiations” – in two years.

    Secondly, browsing around for some more details on the German takeover of parts of the Dutch armed forces, as one might, I came across this:

    http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/05/22/germany-is-quietly-building-a-european-army-under-its-command/

    “Germany is quietly building a European army under its command”

    “Berlin is using a bland name to obscure a dramatic shift in its approach to defense: integrating brigades from smaller countries into the Bundeswehr”

    One question is whether the UK government has been quietly approving this, given that it has gone along with some undesirable developments in that direction:

    http://facts4eu.org/news_sep1_2017.shtml#df1

    “UK TO LEAVE EU, BUT TO LEAVE ITS ARMED FORCES BEHIND”.

    • Jason Wells
      Posted September 15, 2017 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

      Denis- Nuts! plain nuts

      You have a fixation it seems with the EU – we are leaving so no need to be concerned anymore

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted September 16, 2017 at 8:21 am | Permalink

        From your comments I’d say “nuts” applies more to you …

  47. Anna
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    The Times exposed some time ago the wastefulness bordering on corruption in the spending of the overseas aid budget – not least the enormous sums pocketed by ‘advisers’.

    I should like to see a great reduction in the budget; properly administered, it would probably still be able to do more good than it does now. A young friend recently sent a text to say that as a volunteer he had helped to build a well for an African village which had cost £1000, a trivial sum with disproportionately beneficial effects. Instead of spending money on bands and other such flighty projects, why not allocate half the budget for emergency disaster relief and the rest on a concerted project to get clean water to as many places as possible?

    Nig 1: off topic, but as a fervent admirer of Lord Nelson (100+ books about him in my library and a letter in his own hand) I must point out that he never wore an eye patch as he lost only the sight of his right eye, not the eye itself. He did arrange for Locke’s the hatter’s to affix a green shade to his Admiral’s hat as his remaining good eye was sensitive to light.

    • Iain Moore
      Posted September 15, 2017 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

      I am advised of an Aid project that dug a well for a village, they went back a while later and found that the well was no longer working. When asked what had happened were told it was broken, but the Muzungu would come and fix it.

      Aid isn’t just wide open to corruption , it corrupts the recipients as well, and creates a dependency culture.

  48. Pauline Jorgensen
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    I don’t understand why we lumbered ourselves with this law in the first place and yet again why do we need the OECD to tell us where to spend our money. We should repeal the law, continue to spend the same amount in aid if we wish and decide for ourselves how and where we spend it.

    Reply, Yes that would be good, but I do not think there is a majority for repeal in the current Commons.

    • Pauline Jorgensen
      Posted September 15, 2017 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      Thanks – would that be the case even if we amended the law to maintain the 7% but change the definition so that parliament can agree what spend is included in that total (rater than leaving it to the OECD)

    • Chris
      Posted September 15, 2017 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      If the vote were worded with specific reference to such cases as Anguilla, the BVI and others, then it would be clear to the public which MPs did not support helping these countries through being able to determine our own foreign aid allocation. Naming and shaming would help move the debate on very quickly.

      • hefner
        Posted September 15, 2017 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

        All discussions and MP votes are documented on Parliament.uk
        Do your homework!

        I would guess that apart from a very small minority most people on this blog cannot be bothered to check their facts and take their cues from what appears in newspapers and/or blogs, most of them being rather economical with the truth, with either a right- or left-wing bias.

        Shame really how lazy most people are.

    • Fed Up
      Posted September 15, 2017 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

      “I do not think there is a majority for repeal in the current Commons.”

      That says a lot for how out of touch some MPs are – present company obviously excepted! 🙂

      Ordinary British people are struggling right now and we should not be running up massive public debt (and turning our children into future tax slaves) so that present day MPs can virtue signal and feel good about themselves.

    • David Price
      Posted September 16, 2017 at 6:22 am | Permalink

      @Reply
      Yet from the Public Whip website it would appear that less than 30% of Con/Lab MPs actually voted on these divisions, so it would appear the issue hasn’t really been tested with a free vote.

  49. fedupsoutherner
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    It’s obvious that the rules this international body uses are useless in times of dire need so let’s stop talking and just do what we want to. Surely we can pass legislation to give to people in dire need as and when it is needed. We have enough world disasters every year and we could help those in real need as and when necessary. All these rules and regulations often come back to bite us. Who makes these ridiculous rules in the first place? They are not living in the real world.

  50. ChrisS
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    These are all worrying developments.

    I always thought that. whatever barriers they put in the way of our negotiations with them, Brussels will play very dirty on the world stage in order to attempt to freeze us out of trade deals and any other arrangement that the see as advantageous to the UK.

    They will be determined to try and ensure Brexit is not a success to discourage other members like Sweden from considering leaving, especially as many member states will be unhappy about the latest power grab laid out in Juncker’s speech earlier this week.

    As was suggested here earlier this week, Juncker will no doubt attempt to make it an unwritten condition of their proposed deal with Australia and New Zealand that they don’t rush to make a trade deal with the UK.

  51. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    80 comments on a topic built on a misunderstanding of the legal position …

    Priti Patel is managing the UK’s emergency aid response, she could dip into the £13 billion overseas development budget and then later invite MPs to tell her that’s she’s done wrong and she should have let people in these overseas territories suffer and die.

  52. Chris
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Worth reading the detail here, plus quotes from government sources, proposed 10 minute bill, and more:
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4886196/Rip-immoral-aid-rules-help-Hurricane-Irma-victims.html
    NB We are not prevented from sending as much money as the government wants. The problem is that the govt wants that money classified as aid, as defined by the OECD.

  53. Yossarion
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    If they are Over Sees Territories, the answer is in the name, overseas aid should apply when and where it is needed.

  54. CharlesE
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    We should wind down overseas aid as we can hardly help ourselves and after brexit it may get even worse. We could sell the islands to the French or the americans😊

  55. Norman
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    It is indeed sad that so many are apparently in need at home; but what a miserable little nation we are in danger of becoming, were we to care only for our own. That’s not the post Brexit Britain I’d like to see!

  56. margaret
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    The pull is between territorial responsibility and moral responsibility. As usual when it comes to ethics ,short term consequences and long term considerations cause much tension and awakening of guilt if ignored. If we invest with aid to those we do not have direct responsibility to perhaps we should also have a stake in their future and not see it as purely a gift to cover the problem with Elastoplast .

  57. Hugh Rose
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    “However, the spending of overseas aid is subject to rules and guidance from an international body. ”

    It is unlike John Redwood to be so mealy-mouthed! If it is the EU much better to say so – of course it might be the UN who are just as bad in my book!

    When will UK return to the ability to make our own laws and decide ourselves who deserves and does not deserve how much aid?

  58. Pragmatist
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    Is there any event where the media and Labour politicians do not bad-mouth Trump? “Hurricane Irma is a test of Trump’s presidency” . Was his challenge to stay on his feet?
    The Khan of London did well in not mentioning Trump in regard to Parsons Green. He settled for making a party political point about services on the backs and heads and faces of victims of terrorism. It is a shame the very decent Zac Goldsmith is not mayor. He can focus.

  59. paulW
    Posted September 15, 2017 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    We really have to help out with these Caribbean Islands because when the going gets tough and things get ugly following brexit, our brexiteer heroes will need a bolt hole to get away from it all- call it forward guidance

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 16, 2017 at 8:52 am | Permalink

      Call it another load of Remoaner nonsense …

  60. Jonathan Price
    Posted September 16, 2017 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    Which is this nameless ‘international body’ to which you refer?

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