A new approach to overseas aid

Now the government has decided to unite our foreign policy with our overseas aid policy, there is a great opportunity to rethink what we do and what it achieves.

41% of our aid is currently routed through multinational bodies where we have little control over how well it is spent or who receives it. The Department has worked closely with the EU all the time we were a member, allowing them to spend some of our money as well. Surely now we need to unite our efforts behind policies that work and give to countries where we wish to help.

Given the big pressures on public spending brought on by the CV 19 crisis, the government should announce the new budget figure for spending this year, as 0.7% of GDP will now be a lower figure than the Treasury thought a few months ago. We should begin winding down our indirect commitments of aid, and work up a great UK programme which achieves more.

The UK has done some good work on clean water, on medical services and economic development. It should concentrate its efforts in areas where we have special expertise, whilst always being ready to be generous with disaster relief. We have the ships and  manpower to make an important contribution when disaster strikes a country.

We know that many countries on our aid list have been poor for any decades, and know that past aid programmes have not succeeded in breaking the evil spell of poverty. We also know that trade is more powerful than aid at raising living standards, and know it is better to teach a person to fish than to send them  fish when we remember to.

Over the days ahead I am going to sketch out some ideas on how we can achieve more for countries crying out for help with development with new approaches to the support and the investments we make. I invite your comments as I do this work.  One of the ways forward could be to help finance economic development projects and business development that generates sustainable jobs whilst providing returns for investors.


  1. Mick
    June 19, 2020

    The only reason Boris is messing with foreign aid is this
    Because most of them are moving here, why can’t we have a Home Secretary who can do there job, also is there a web site for the public to check and see the numbers of these foreigners are sent back

    1. miami.mode
      June 19, 2020

      Irony or humour, depending on your viewpoint, that the vessels shown are named Dauntless and Seeker.

      1. Hope
        June 19, 2020

        JR, borrowing has just past 100% of GDP. Do you think it is about time your govt starts to reduce the borrowing and the debt that your govt promised to do ten years ago! We cannot afford your suggestion today. Humanitarian aid and influence for trade. All virtue signaling crap must end.

        Look at your your Govt.’s reckless budget in March this year when it had still failed to balance the structural deficit promised ten years ago and at each of the three general elections! Ten years of austerity and dire public services because your govt. lied about cutting mass immigration to tens of thousands. Instead it dishonestly increased immigration to historic record levels while cutting public services. The public statements by your govt could only have been dishonest.

        This week we have an official report saying the Home Office spends £393 million to prevent illegal immigration but it does not have a clue how many illegal immigrants have come here! The report concludes the Home Office wing responsible does not provide value for Maoney- no shit Sherlock!

        153 of 4,000 illegal immigrants deported! 2,000 arrived from France alone after paying millions to France to stop it!

        JR, Suggest your govt goes back to basics. Every pound of taxpayers’ money must count. Johnson still spending like a drunk in a pub.

    2. Everhopeful
      June 19, 2020

      I expect she IS doing her job.
      Doing her job as set out by that Refugee international agreement thing that May signed us up to.
      The powers ALWAYS honour their pledges…except to us!

    3. NickC
      June 19, 2020

      If Boris (and Starmer) spent less time genuflecting to an incoherent bunch of far left vandals, and more time re-directing “foreign aid” to fight modern slavery, including sex slavery, perhaps there would be some real benefits. But then that would require them to be honest with the public that the “grooming gang” scandal is part of the ongoing culture wars.

    4. steve
      June 19, 2020


      The Home Office says it and France are committed to tackling the issue.

      The Home Office is lying.

      Truth of the matter is boris is scared to send them back to France because; a) just like the police he’s terrified of the race card, and; b) he’s frightened of Macron anyway.

    June 19, 2020

    You’ll have to barge Russia and China out of the way first who use economic aid to encourage debt dependency on poorer nations allowing them to control and then first mover advantage over their natural resources.

    Foreign aid in the UK has become a mere virtue signalling exercise for the Tory party to try and reconstruct their own image as the caring party.

    It’s a tiresome and exhausting spectacle to see vacuous British politicians extolling their faux compassion for political purposes and then demand the British taxpayer finance that cynical form of party politics

    The British taxpayer is now nothing more than something to be abused by both main parties to promote their own positions .

    We need genuine change in British politics because the Tory-Labour duopoly has imposed damage on this nation’s culture, finances and freedoms

    We know both parties couldn’t care less about human beings. We know that the only consideration both parties have is the protection and promotion of themselves and the prolongation of the two-party Parliamentary system.

    I have no recommendations regarding foreign aid. It’s become a meaningless and exploitative political issue.

    1. Everhopeful
      June 19, 2020

      Too true.
      I’d vote for a party that abolished all but care for its own people…fat chance.
      While we have the two party monopoly …NO CHANCE.

      1. Hope
        June 19, 2020

        Thankfully I did not vote for either of the two socialist parties or the lie dumbs. I rather not vote if they were the only options. I used to vote conservative but that does not exist in the Tory party.

        Amazing to think that we are grateful to Corbyn for the 2017 election otherwise Mayhab would have a majority and still be in office lying about her servitude plan, another date for leaving the EU, Brexit means Brexit, nothing has changed, all the same stuff Johnson is currently peddling!

      2. Fedupsoutherner
        June 19, 2020


    2. Martin in Cardiff
      June 19, 2020

      If your main concern about such aid is the burden that it places on the taxpayer, at 0.7% 0f GDP, then why are you not more bothered by that of crime, at a conservative estimate of 7%?

      That presumably excludes contingent costs, since UK fraud alone was recently assessed at £193 billion per annum. We spend a billion a year just on clearing litter and dog fouling.

      The UK’s crime rate is about twice the pro-rata European Union’s one, so we’d save several times the aid budget if we could only match that.

      So why the fixation?

      1. Edward2
        June 19, 2020

        That is a typical whataboutery response.
        Yes we know crime costs more.

        1. Martin in Cardiff
          June 20, 2020

          Far, far more, and yet we read and hear almost nothing about it.

          Your accusation is technically correct, but where the comparison relates to something orders bigger, then it is entirely appropriate to ask why the subject is apparently suppressed, whereas the public are encouraged to obsess over the smaller.

          1. Edward2
            June 20, 2020

            The subject isn’t suppressed.
            There are desperate attempts by HMRC, Cusoms and Excise, Police, Courts, Probation services and Prison Services to try to reduce crime and the huge overall costs.
            Tell people to not break the law.

      2. a-tracy
        June 20, 2020

        How do you work out we spend a billion per year just clearing up litter and dog fouling?

        Community service, prison service for the free board and lodgings and food we’re providing.

        Any cost should be majority covered by the labour repayment to society these groups owe us.

    3. bigneil(newercomp)
      June 19, 2020

      Foreign Aid is just a way for our elite to throw our taxes away to the world, so THEY look good on the world stage. The only effect I see from Foreign Aid is the population of the recipient country booms – therefore needing an ever increasing amount. WE just get poorer.
      I would like the govt to tell us what is going to happen when over 50% of this country is unemployed – and unemployable – 3rd worlders., All living in a better place than they came from, but not working or contributing, just enjoying what we have worked and paid taxes for. They will turn this into what they came from, then look for somewhere else to go to.

    4. Cheshire Girl
      June 19, 2020


      I have a recommendation.

      We should abolish Foreign Aid entirely, and just have an Emergency Fund to help those stricken with Floods, Earthquakes and so on.

      We are impoverishing people here, in order to give to those, some of whom, hate us, in order to make well paid Politicians feel smug, and able to say ‘its the right thing to do’.

    5. Peter Wood
      June 19, 2020

      I wholly agree with your first three paragraphs on this topic. I might add:

      1. Our aid budget has to come from BORROWED money
      2. Generally, when something is given for no effort, it is rarely valued by the recipient. the definition of Gratitude is the lively anticipation of favours to come.
      3. the 0.7% of GDP makes no sense, some years there will be terrible waste and others not enough, that was a vanity law from a PM who never understood the real world, it must be repealed.
      4. Your point China, ‘Belt and Road’ quite right, how much of our aid money goes to repaying Chinese loans?!

    6. Dennis
      June 19, 2020

      ‘……who use economic aid to encourage debt dependency on poorer nations allowing them to control and then first mover advantage over their natural resources.’ Yes the US has been a good teacher these past many decades. John Perkins in his ‘I was an Economic Hitman’ lays it all out.

  3. Peter
    June 19, 2020

    I expect to see comments suggesting the following :-

    1 Charity begins at home. Cut total spend and ensure aid money, where given, does not get spent wastefully.

    2 Why are we giving aid money to a country that has a space programme?

    3 Mention of aid given to ‘Ethiopian Spice Girls’ and other grants that have made headlines.

    4 Mention of aid funnelled through NGOs whose representatives behaved badly when abroad. Sexual abuse cases would be an example.

    5 Mention that aid is often used to foster trade opportunities for the U.K.

    6 Mention of misuse of aid money by foreign kleptocrats who divert it to family and friends.

    1. David_Kent
      June 19, 2020

      So which of the six points you expect to see raised do you think is invalid and why?

      1. Ian Wragg
        June 19, 2020

        More importantly all the pubs have announced that they are opening July 4the. Ironic its USA independence day so now it’s hospitality freedom day.
        Wake up Boris your behind the curve.

        1. Lynn Atkinson
          June 19, 2020

          Leave him asleep – he’s happier that way and so am I.

    2. percy openshaw
      June 19, 2020

      And you’re quite happy with such abuses?

      1. Peter
        June 19, 2020

        Percy and David,

        The answer to both your questions is :-

        ‘That’s for me to know and you to find out.’

        Here is one clue. I am not foreign kleptocrat, or one of their family or friends.

        My expectations are not always realised. Number 7 on the list would have been at least one post by Lifelogic on this subject by now.

        Truth is I do not expect very much to change -whatever is suggested. It is rather like illegal migrants crossing the channel in that respect. Many here could remedy the problem – but they are not in charge. Meanwhile ministers will pay lip service to tackling it, but no effective action will result.

        There are bigger issues facing the country and I am too busy steeling myself to be let down over those to give much thought to foreign aid.

    3. Fred H
      June 19, 2020

      Peter …you didn’t mention countries that spend billions on military items, nor that to counter the removal of ‘Foreign Aid’ we could establish more numerous and capable deployment services to assist in natural disasters.

    4. steve
      June 19, 2020


      “Why are we giving aid money to a country that has a space programme?”

      Why indeed !

      I’d also like to know why it is our governments give aid to countries who’s thanks to us is the export of terrorism to our streets.

  4. Nigl
    June 19, 2020

    As ever good thoughts from you nonetheless before anything can be achieved their needs to be attitudinal change and the systemic inefficiency of so much HMG combined with inflexible thinking, metering now pushed out to 2025, shambles of test and trace, both in the last two days, gives me little hope.

    Few outside the privileged and wealthy elites, who can afford it, get the concept of soft power so some measurable examples would be welcome.

    In terms of the Aid budget we have to move away from the ‘shovel out/must spend it/it must be doing good’ attitude to an objective led targeted approach with measurable outputs and project management oversight.

    Fat chance!

  5. SM
    June 19, 2020

    I believe the UK has a moral duty to give natural disaster relief.

    Living now in S Africa, and having local political and personal security company contacts, I know about some of the unbelievable corruption that permeates both state and private enterprises. During the current crisis and lockdown, that degeneration has even descended to the level of food being stolen from the starving by local officials for selling on. Empty school buildings have been looted and burned in their hundreds.

    While S Africa and other African countries are run by political parties that are essentially proto-communist and financially immoral, continuing with International Aid simply feeds the monster but starves the poor even further.

    1. Lynn Atkinson
      June 19, 2020

      +1 the first thing to achieve is to starve out the disgraceful governments who exploit their own people with a ruthlessness no own in the West.

      1. Lynn Atkinson
        June 19, 2020

        Sorry, ‘unknown’ not ‘no own’

    2. miami.mode
      June 19, 2020

      Good points SM, which suggest our politicians should make greater efforts to audit the results of overseas aid.

    3. Nigl
      June 19, 2020

      Yes. I had a friend looking to do business with SA and the levels of corruption were appalling almost as bad as our politicians turning a blind eye owing to ‘post colonial guilt’

      There has to be two red lines. No handing over the budget to a ‘third party’ our money, we write the cheques and no dealing with corrupt regimes/local officials.

    4. steve
      June 19, 2020


      “I believe the UK has a moral duty to give natural disaster relief.”

      Why ?

      We don’t owe anything to other countries, in fact in many cases they owe us.

      If there were to be a massive natural disaster in this country, do you think the recipients of our charity would spring to our help ? Of course they wouldn’t.

      1. SM
        June 19, 2020

        Steve – for the same reason that if I saw a stranger collapse in the street, I would see if I could help them to stand up, ensure their belongings weren’t stolen and/or get them medical attention. Wouldn’t you?

        1. Fred H
          June 20, 2020

          Perhaps you would inform us of the countries who separately provided items and financial relief to the often flooded areas of the UK in recent years?

  6. GilesB
    June 19, 2020

    We should deliberately target funding to chocolate manufacturers and coffee processors in developing countries.

    The ridiculously high EU import tariffs on processed products are a moral abomination. And totally hypocritical to offer the same producer countries aid, all for the protection of the fat Burghers of Brussels

    1. margaret howard
      June 19, 2020


      Fat Burghers of Brussels?

      According to a list by the World Health Organisation we ‘outweigh’ the people of Brussels by a long chalk – UK 39th while Belgium comes in at a low 112.

      1. NickC
        June 19, 2020

        Typically, Margaret, you seek to obscure the facts of EU exploitation of weaker countries, and the Brussels bureaucrats fattening their purses at our expense, with trivia about people’s weight.

      2. Fred H
        June 19, 2020

        I think you missed the point and meaning as always.

      3. GilesB
        June 19, 2020

        I know that there a lot of chocolatiers in Brussels, but it isn’t everyone!

      4. Everhopeful
        June 19, 2020

        Don’t think it means literally overweight.
        A term used quite a lot literature/history…Philippa Gregory for one.
        I think it refers more to wealth and power…like “ bloated capitalist”.

      5. Lynn Atkinson
        June 19, 2020

        Margaret it is disappointing that you hate your own people so much that at every opportunity you castigate and denigrate us. We all see the world through our own prism, yours is a really nasty one, and apparently you attribute all that nastiness emanating from you, to us.
        You reveal yourself even though you know it not.

        1. margaret howard
          June 20, 2020



          That boring old tactic to call anyone who doesn’t share your nationalistic tendencies as hating his/her own country. Just the opposite is true. You have to see the faults to try and improve them not blindly follow the ‘my country right or wrong’ routine.

          Many of the sentiments of your postings appall me. You seem to hate the world outside your own front door.

          1. a-tracy
            June 20, 2020

            Margaret, I have asked you repeatedly to name the most positive attributes of the U.K. today, can’t you even name 3? You are the most negative anti U.K. particularly anti-English person I have ever read comment.

    2. Andy
      June 19, 2020

      Ah – you’ve seen the claim made by ‘World of Brexit’ that the EU charges 30% tariffs on processed cocoa. Fortunately this claim is nonsense.

      Cocoa beans, husks and shells can be imported into the EU tariff free from anywhere.

      51 African countries can also export cocoa products to the EU tariff free.

      The remaining 4 countries – which do not yet have agreements with the EU – face tariffs of up to 9.6% depending on the cocoa product.

      Charging no tariffs on cocoa products from most African countries is a moral abomination how exactly?

      1. Edward2
        June 20, 2020

        Look on the internet for an article by Trade Unionists Against the EU entitled How the EU Starves Africa.

        1. APL
          June 20, 2020

          “How the EU Starves Africa.”

          While he’s at it, he could look for articles on ‘how the EU destroys the indigenous African fishing industry’ too.

          Here’s one for him to be going on with:-


    3. Sea Warrior
      June 19, 2020

      Any chance of the FCO taking effective action against Spain, which has intruded on Gibraltar’s waters for the UMPTEENTH time?

    4. Ian Wragg
      June 19, 2020

      When we finally leave the EU we can unilaterally reduce the tariffs.

  7. Nivek
    June 19, 2020

    With regard to foreign policy in general, it appears that David Lammy MP tweeted recently that the “Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom” has been insulting to the “#BlackLivesMatter movement”.

    I believe I am correct in writing that, a couple of years ago, Mr. Lammy wanted the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom to veto legislation that had been passed by the Parliament of Bermuda, more than half of whose population identify as black.

    Mr. Lammy should be asked to explain how a majority black country is supposed to secure its own rights if its democracy is liable to be interfered with by a majority white country.

  8. oldtimer
    June 19, 2020

    Focus aid on disaster relief (if and when requested), capital investment in essential infrastructure and utilities, and in ventures which seek to take advantage of local competitive advantages. Capital investments should be conditional on local participation at governmental level for infrastructure/utility projects and private enterprise level for other capital investments. In short replace expensed handouts with capital investment in wealth creating ventures.

    1. IanT
      June 19, 2020

      I look forward to your further thoughts Sir JR – it is very clear that some fresh thinking has long been overdue in this area.

      I’ve never understood why we’ve tied ourselves to International definitions of “Aid” that have prevented us from helping certain parts of the world in times of need that we would clearly have liked to assist. Surely we can come up with our own definition of what aid actually consists of – without help from others?

      I do think that some of our ‘aid’ budget should be spent at home in the form of ‘dual-use’ military investment (our Armed Forces certainly could use the money – assuming that we first sack the existing procurement staff at the MoD). Landing support ships equipped with helicopters, inshore craft and medical facilities are useful in both military and emergency support roles – as are disaster-trained marines.

      Not very PC these days I’m sure – but very practical and useful when you actually need them in any relief situation. If the Global Warming doom mongers are to be believed, we will probably need them a lot more often – both here and abroad. Surely a much better use of funds and something that just doesn’t just feed some corrupt officials Swiss bank account.


  9. Bryan Harris
    June 19, 2020

    Good comments.
    Foreign aid is just like benefits system in many respects, and it is difficult to wean recipients off – It can make them lazy if there is no incentive to help themselves.

    Targeted aid projects, properly run, with real accountability, with proven results, and run by the UK to create something that will be worthwhile, should be the aim.

    I have long since lost faith in multinational bodies – they absorb too much of the funds while their effectiveness can often be challenged – Some such bodies have contributed to trafficking and other abuses – They should certainly be defunded.

    There are far too many charities out there which continually run tv ads for £3 a month, or whatever – they have become a growth industry, supporting mainly the CEO’s. Blair was at the forefront of this explosion when he made it possible for charities to hold political views – This world has become corrupt ever since – The whole ‘industry’ needs re-establishing under sensible governance.

    One thing is for sure though – we should not be sending our money abroad when we so badly need it here. Agreeing to .7% GDP as an amount to spend is now seen as a sacred cow, but if the promise on the pension lock can be so easily broken, then we can also reduce the aid bill significantly!

  10. Roy Grainger
    June 19, 2020

    All very laudable John but it has already been announced that a focus of our aid spending will be Ukraine and Eastern Europe – just as if we had never left the EU. Aid like that is purely political, we have no particular ties to those countries and in global terms they are not poor at all.

  11. Alec
    June 19, 2020

    The UK has been squandering money on aid for decades. It has proved to be as fruitless as government policies have been at eliminating poverty here. Free unrestricted markets raise living standards not government aid which almost always ends up in some criminals back pocket. Cease the squandering, reduce taxation, eliminate trade rules and do as little as possible to mess things up any more.

    1. NickC
      June 19, 2020

      Alec, You are correct – government aid is usually either useless or corrupting, or both. I would scrap all foreign aid, bar disaster relief.

      1. Lynn Atkinson
        June 19, 2020

        Best to scrap all Government Aid, home and abroad. It’s always counter-productive and a bribe to do what you judge to be the wrong thing. Always ends badly.

  12. Nigl
    June 19, 2020

    Ps. Andrew Tyrie has resigned citing frustration with the slow pace of change. Analog laws in a digital age.

    Sums up our Civil Service led allegedly by here today gone tomorrow Ministers without the subject matter knowledge, management skills or real world experience to hold it to account, hence my doubts that the DFID changes will be anything other than superficial.

  13. Cynic
    June 19, 2020

    Foreign Aid. Just more government wasted investment. They can’t even make good decisions at home, look at Hs2!
    Disaster relief, education, trade and private investment are what’s needed

    1. Lifelogic
      June 19, 2020

      Nor the Covid tracing app as I predicted at the time.

    2. Lifelogic
      June 19, 2020

      Still they were doing some “vital” works – like paying £5 MILLION to ‘Ethiopian Spice Girls’ Yegna – so the pop stars can have their own chat show!

    3. NickC
      June 19, 2020

      Cynic, The Tories buy their enemies and sell their friends. Except their enemies will take the cash (and the genuflecting) and still hate them. Why oh why does the Tory party keep making the same mistake?

    4. nhsgp
      June 19, 2020

      HS2. Given the current mess and that people won’t be travelling for meetings, but using Skype, Zoom etc [other messaging system available], it makes far more sense to pump the money in to fibre to premises.

      That benefits almost everyone.

      HS2 just benefits a few who want to get home from Westminster 5 minutes earlier.

      No one is Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, Northern Ireland, the east of England, the South East, the South, the West benefits. They lose because they will be forced to subsidise the tickets.

      1. turboterrier
        June 20, 2020


        I totally agree.

  14. Alan Jutson
    June 19, 2020

    If we are going to supply fresh water from new wells, and have planned and managed vaccination programmes, instead of just topping up peoples credit cards with money, that would be a good start.

    Absolutely no problem with natural disaster relief.

    You are right, we need a complete rethink of direction, of management, and compliance.

  15. Mark B
    June 19, 2020

    Good morning.

    The abolition of DfID is nothing short of inter-civil service rivalry. The FCO have long sought to command DfID’s budget and this is just a result of that. No reducing or appealing the terrible law which compels us to spend money, most if not all borrowed, on foreign countries.

    Whilst many may say it has done good work I would like to remind our kind host and others here that so too did the British Empire. We built roads and railways and gave then English Common Law, something many of the most successful post colonial countries have benefitted from. Something the mindless yobs did not stop to think about as they committed criminal damage.

    Here is the spend for DfID in 2018. It is a government website so it should be OK, Sir John


    £10.9bn is £10,900,000,000. Or to put it another way. If we were to give the poorest families in the UK each £1 million pounds, that would equate to ten thousand, nine hundred families. Each and every year – THINK ABOUT IT ???

    The majority of the money, for some strange reason, seems to go to a country with a nuclear arsonal. Why ? Why are we funding other people’s nuclear deterrents ? It is they and their governments that should be looking after their interests, not us.

    You can move the slush fund around, but it is still immoral.

  16. Lifelogic
    June 19, 2020

    Exactly right. Trade not aid is far, far more effective.

    Much talk of higher taxes to repay the government’s borrowing black hole. The problem is we are hugely over taxed already, businesses and landlords have also now taken on far more debt in CV and bounce back loans to be paid back over seven years. You will not get more tax out of them even if you do this year you damage growth thus getting less in the following years,

    If you raise taxes to even higher rates more will default on these loans and and go bust.
    Yet despite this huge overtaxation public services deliver so little indeed of any real quality & value.

    The only way out of the hole is cuts in government waste (most of government activity is waste or worse still actively damaging), lower simpler taxes, cheap (non green crap) energy and the win, win of huge deregulation.

    Yet the dopes have not even cancelled HS2 yet or cut soft loans for duff university degrees. When will this finally dawn on Boris and Sunak. Only just over four years until the next election. I certainly do not want to see people like Starmer, Lammy, Mc Donnall and the SNP anywhere near to power.

  17. Everhopeful
    June 19, 2020

    Foreign Aid is charity.
    No charity or its recipient ever wants to solve the problem.
    The charity would lose influence/power and the recipient would lose the flow of dosh.
    HOW many years ago was it when some pop star said “Just give us the f**** money”?
    Why are there still problems?
    Anyway…what about us? It’s our tax money that is chucked around like confetti.

  18. agricola
    June 19, 2020

    yes it has been long overdue for a rethink on what it does and for whom. Lets hope the Foreign Office, supposedly full of the bright and the good, can make a better fist of it. A public, outline plan of their intentions with specifics rather than the usual generalisations, given in the HoC by the minister would not go amiss.

    1. Richard416
      June 19, 2020

      I agree, the phenomenon of vested perpetuation is ever present. It would be much better to link foreign aid to budget surplus, but if we must borrow money to hand out round the world, I suggest that we make this random 0.7% the limit rather than a target. If we can’t find sensible projects that are value for money we should not waste it. Charity should begin at home.

  19. Narrow Shoulders
    June 19, 2020

    We borrowed £55 billion in May. We can’t afford foreign aid.

    The only foreign aid we should be accounting for is that which is spent on people arriving here from elsewhere who immediately put their hand out (despite all visas stating “No recourse to public funds”) especially those from the EU who are (ridiculously) entitled to equal treatment

    If we are to persist with it (which we will as politicians do love to spend our money) then his large amount of money should only be spent on UK GDP. Goods from the UK, delivered, services from the UK delivered. Nothing to increase the direct trade of the countries receiving it and enrich them and only to poor countries.

    To reflect our excellent colonial past (a few countries built the world as we know it) those people who are receiving aid should be in no doubt where it came from and from whose munificence they are benefitting.

  20. Adam
    June 19, 2020

    Giving aid without control or evidence of outcome is reckless, causing misuse exerting the opposite of what we intend.

    Countries decide their own destinies. When a foreign Govt is corrupt NGOs help reach the needy direct, but better lasting effects are needed instead. We should use our diplomatic power and international instruments to cause bad Govts to change and protect their own populations. Until they do, we should limit aid to disaster relief.

    Where good Govts struggle to exert means of assisting their own people, we can behave like a good parent helping their loved one succeed into self-sufficiency and enduring happiness.

  21. The Prangwizard
    June 19, 2020

    We are going to need all that money here in the next few years. The arrogance of the political and other elites who are so far from the real lives of most people is insufferable.

    They fall over themselves to be associated with BLM and think themselves virtuous as a result but stamp down hard on the indiginous peoples who they regard as enemies and undeserving.

    We should get off our knees.

  22. Sakara Gold
    June 19, 2020

    Penny Mordant has written to the PM advocating investment in a replacement hospital ship for the RN, which could double as a Royal Yacht for Her Majesty the Queen – a Britannia 2

    Mordant has suggested that private and/or research cash could be used to fund the vessel, alongside funding from the UK aid budget. She makes the case that we need a steady drumbeat in our remaining ship halls to make production viable and to keep industry investing in skills and innovation.

    This is a sovereign capability we cannot lose.

    We need a greater number of sea-time opportunities for the next generation of mariners to properly train and qualify, and we need more platforms so that we are not taking grey hulls from vital tasking to provide ships for humanitarian or diplomatic missions.

    The concept of highly flexible vessels that could be part-funded from the ODA budget in partnership with private, research, commercial and charitable funds could help meet all these objectives. It would be good to see this suggestion taken forward.

  23. Iain Moore
    June 19, 2020

    We seem to have states which are perpetually designated as developing, though never actually able to develop , these same states have been in receipt of Aid for some 60 years, and rather than needing less Aid need more and more of it. You might have thought our political class would stop a moment and wonder why this is, and come to the conclusion that this Aid, this international welfare, does not work.

    In reality Aid is a policy designed to assuage the guilt trip of the liberals who think we are guilty for everything, but it is also there to hide the utter failure of the Socialism that many African states voted for when getting independence , like Nkrumah’s Scientific Socialism in Ghana that wrecked Ghana’s constitution and economy. Socialism has impoverished much of Africa, and the left , though Aid, are getting us to pay for their ideologies failure.

    The free ride Conservative politicians have been giving the left over their disastrous ideological interventions in Africa is now costing us dear, for without any counter argument for the claimed sins of Colonialism means the left are now tearing through our history and institutions, and Pol Pot like cleansing our history to fit their narrative…. and you chaps are sitting there and watching, and trying to make a virtue of a £14 billion policy that doesn’t work, that is there to cover up for the left’s failure.

  24. M Brandreth- Jones
    June 19, 2020

    Africa always appears to be fraught with tribal warfare , Villages being wiped out and women and children killed. Charities do well, but the progress seems to be slow. Whilst we don’t want to give the impressions of slavery by enabling a more civilised culture and creating employment we can start focusing on the already well advertised water aid. Water is the most precious natural commodity there is. Some might say we can’t even build reservoirs to accommodate the UK’s increase in housing , and I understand this, but if we corrected all the issues here we would never expand our good will.

  25. Andy
    June 19, 2020

    DFID was, of course, one of the finest government department.

    Well run and internationally respected as a world beating performer – its budget was closely audited and was very well spent.

    You never heard this from the zealots of course. It has never fitted their British exceptionalism, anti-foreigner agenda.

    But decent Britons – are there are still plenty of us left – can be proud of the work DFID has done. Saving the lives of sick children and improving lives and communities around the world. And the cost of this excellent work was just a handful of pence each per week. What an amazing difference we have made.

    Another thing the zealots will not tell you is that as a result of their decision some sick children who would have lived will now die. I do not doubt that, to a man, you would all be too gutless to tell the parents.

    1. Andy
      June 19, 2020

      Of course the lion’s share of UK aid money is already spent on economic development and education. Working with farmers on how to farm better so their businesses grow and aid is not needed in future. That sort of thing. This is precisely what we already do. It is why DFID is such a huge success. (Incidentally some UK aid money is spent by other government departments and this tends to be the stuff you see headlines about).

      I suspect for you lot that we will actually find that international aid will end up being rather like the European Court of Justice. You know you hate it even though you really don’t know what it is, what it’s for and what it does. You also can’t name any specific examples of things it has done wrong and can’t actually come up with any better ways of working yourself. But you hate it anyway.

      Meanwhile we’ve spent £1m painting a plane for Johnson – Bojo, or more aptly, Bozo One. And some ministerial bright spark things we need another Royal yacht. How out of touch are these elites?

  26. Richard1
    June 19, 2020

    What will lift the peoples of developing countries out of poverty is not aid it is the rule of law, capitalism, free trade and (usually but not always) liberal democracy. As demonstrated by economies such as Singapore and Hong Kong which have transformed themselves from impoverished backwaters to having GDP per head substantially above the U.K. without a penny of aid. In contrast to aid-drenched economies in Africa which until recently remained in dire poverty due to corruption and socialism.

    I don’t suppose we can at this point get out of shovelling £15bn of aid out of the door, so let’s make sure every £1 is paid at the direction of U.K. ministers answerable to Parliament. Any more £300m for Unusable airports or £10m for the Ethiopian spice girls and all the ministers and officials involved in the decision should be fired. Let aid be focused either in specific disaster relief or else the promotion of such policies as have been proven to deliver better outcomes. And let’s absolutely make sure it is coordinated with wider UK foreign policy goals.

    And let’s get full FTAs in place with as many countries as possible – free trade will be far more valuable to them than aid.

  27. NickC
    June 19, 2020

    JR, What are going to do about the fact that DfID civil servants are paid more than FCO staff (at the same grade)? You won’t get much cooperation from disgruntled staff.

  28. Javelin
    June 19, 2020

    Given the destruction of the private sector by the Conservative Government and GDP dropping by 30+% the only course of action is reduce the cost of Governmebt by 30%. I dont really care if it’s job losses, salary cuts or a raid on final salary pensions. It must be done. Because we are all in this together.

    But if the Conservative PARTY is not to be destroyed they must prove the phrase “we’re all in this together” actually means it, and not that the private sector will pay dearly for the public sector to live in the lap of luxury.

    At the moment the Government smells more like a tinpot dictatorship than a democratic western power.

  29. James1
    June 19, 2020

    Borrowing money to give it away is one of our more asinine activities. Dfid should not have been merged with the FCO. Dfid should have been closed down, along with the Department for International Trade and numerous other government departments and quangos. There’s a simple solution. It’s called free trade. Rip off the tariffs and let people in less well developed countries trade with us.

  30. glen cullen
    June 19, 2020

    When I go to the bank/govt for a loan/grant they ask if I’ve exhausted every other avenue for funds, they ask what collateral/security, they ask whats the plan

    We shouldn’t be aiding a country if they have the means but chose not to develop their own people and rely upon foreign aid

    I remember a delegation from South Africa 20 years ago asking countries/UN to stop funding aid programmes as it only holds that country back….it must be allowed to develop itself….trade not aid

    1. hefner
      June 20, 2020

      I think Dambisa Moyo’s ‘Dead Aid’ is a good book on the topic. Trade not aid, but trade that benefits the developing country.

      1. Fred H
        June 20, 2020

        and the donating country?

  31. Christine
    June 19, 2020

    Why should we believe anything will change? For years we have seen tax payers money sent to countries richer than us, to depots and dictators, to causes that were a complete waste of money. We’ve seen it sent to the EU for it to be relabelled with the EU flag. We’ve even seen us paying the world bank for holding onto it until it can be spent. We’ve seen chief execs taking fat salaries for no risk. All this time services in this country have deteriorated. The growth in the human population is relentless. It’s a never ending situation which will continue until we have wiped out the entire planet. I’m all for contributing to disaster relief but foreign aid should be scrapped or better still made voluntary. Let those who think it should continue pay for it. That’s my only suggestion but as usual politicians are too busy grandstanding on the world stage to take any notice of the voters.

  32. Turboterrier
    June 19, 2020

    Sir John

    Achieve more for countries crying out for help with development with new approaches.

    The first country I would like to nominate is England and all the proposed budget allowance is used within its borders.

    My reason for making this nomination is that we cannot carry on as was, in light of the Covid 19 pandemic and the funding necessary to pay all the costs incurred and the following;-

    £69m paid out to Scottish wind farms in the first two months of this year paid by all consumers at the rate of over £1m a day.
    From the start of 2019, 2839 illegal migrants have crossed the channel to England. Of the 1138 that have arrived in the last 7 weeks, only 155 have been returned.
    A Kurdish refugee accepted by this country throws himself in front of the Prime Minister’s car causing an accident and damage to vehicles. Will he be charged and deported?

    Come on, the joke has become a pantomime and this country has got to stop and draw a line in the sand it cannot carry on in such a cavalier manner with taxpayers money.

    The relevant Secretary of State to the controlling departments have got to be seen to making a difference with clear concise actions. No more hiding places for them or their departments. We are paying them to deliver what they are employed to do.

    1. jane4brexit
      June 21, 2020

      Thank you for making me laugh out loud Bob despite all the current depressing realities, some of which would be thought too unlikely even to be fiction only a few years and even months ago!

  33. Duyfken
    June 19, 2020

    “One of the ways forward could be to help finance economic development projects …”. That means forking out money but imo the least amount of money as possible should be allowed flowing into the hands of the locals in aid-recipient States.

    Instead aid should be concentrated on practical projects undertaken, managed, sourced and controlled only by British contractors appointed by, answerable to and paid by the UK government.

  34. John E
    June 19, 2020

    Forget paternalistic interfering aid programmes altogether.
    Recognise other countries as equals.
    Where we share values trade freely with them.

    How about a Commonwealth free trade zone?

    1. Kenneth
      June 20, 2020

      Agree entirely

  35. beresford
    June 19, 2020

    The best way to bring prosperity to some of these countries would be to reinstate (part of) the British Empire. Instead of their people ‘fleeing’ to us we could bring Britain and (relatively) wise non-tribal governance to them.

  36. bigneil(newercomp)
    June 19, 2020

    I have just read elsewhere that the lock on our pensions has been quietly removed ( under cover of all the virus and BLM screaming). Shame how we can’t afford to pay the people who have worked and contributed – but CAN afford a never ending flood of workless, and therefore contributionless, immigrants. Not waiting for a death by natural causes is becoming better looking by the day.

    1. Caterpillar
      June 20, 2020

      It is an amazing economic policy that this Govt has followed. Borrow and print to pay favoured people to stop working and add to the uncertainty of those who worked a lifetime. Both the Govt and opposition parties are truly hopeless. Millions of people’s lives will be damaged through the so-called policy response to the lockdown and millions of life years will be lost. There is a non-zero probability that 2020 will go down in history as the year that the UK stopped being a developed nation. The UK has built toward this moment for decades in a gradual erosion of being able to do anything (to think Prospero was launched on a Black Arrow in 1971), but 2020 is the rapid culmination of this downward slope. To go from a country that could launch satellites, build nuclear power stations, deliver rail projects, control its border, patrol its waters to one that cannot even open a pub is a sorry tale of utter incompetence. The U.K. is a country on its knees, I am sad.

      1. a-tracy
        June 20, 2020

        ‘The U.K. is a Country on its knees’ i agree it is just so depressing. Enterprising people locked up by a bunch of incompetent Ministers.

        John, you must wish you’d retired and weren’t a part of this big majority waste of time and indecisive government? Running around self-flagilisation about sh1t that happened hundreds of years ago is just pandering to a self-serving opportunists (many of our ancestors were all serfs then, every culture has been in servitude including white Europeans at some point in history) – opportunity in the U.K. is there for all should they choose to strive for it, the MPs are a keen demonstration of this too many of them have chips on their shoulders whilst being in top positions, the irony, is this truly the sum of their ambition? To create division and angst and tell people they’re held down.

        Matt Hancock has now lost all gravitas for me, to walk right along side someone and pat them on the back just demonstrates he doesn’t believe in the policies on physical distance he is spouting to the rest of us. He’s stopping hairdressers and barbers but your government has allowed people to have raves, protest groupings, marches, beach gatherings but you continue to stop some people from the living – get a grip!

  37. James Bertram
    June 19, 2020

    Good post, Sir John. I pretty much agree with your broad outline. It’s a complex subject. The 0.7% of GDP aid target is something we should maintain in principle – it is perhaps the finest achievement of the Blair years. However, as many readers will point out, how it is spent often results in gross incompetence and theft, both here and overseas. That needs to change.

    The Chinese Aid model based on trade is a good one; their political aims are not. It is one we should follow more; but our political aims should be to uphold democracy, civil liberties and human rights (as we should in the UK – rather than this current police state!), to strengthen our historic links with the Commonwealth through low-tariff trade, to aid (through ‘development’) those countries in the world most in need, to avoid getting enmeshed in failed states and civil wars, and to help out in emergency relief – a difficult balance.

    We definitely should not provide aid through multilateral programmes, but maintain full oversight of expenditure. We also need to face up to the fact that most employees in the Civil Service, and in the Charity sector, are grossly incompetent when it comes to running a business. Too, a £50,000 p.a. salary in the UK is 50 times as much as that earnt in an average Third World country – we should have far fewer UK employees and offices (G&A) sucking money out of the Aid budget – and those we have should be far better business-trained.

    Then, of course, there is the theft overseas (when I was volunteering in India in the 1990s it was recognised that 50% of local NGOs were corrupt). We need to find new ways of getting money to the people who really need it (handing it directly to those who need it is often the best way – similar to the idea of Universal Basic Income). Too, we need to get the money to those who who will use it wisely and enterprisingly (micro-credit schemes, low-cost intermediate technology, small farming enterprises). Much more can be done on this through us providing greater loans and loan-management to such priorities.

    We do not need to spend 0.7% each year; what is not spent should be carried over into a growing fund until we are confident that we can spend it wisely. As you write, it is good to play to our strengths in water, medecine, etc. We could perhaps look at making UK infrastructure firms more competitive in overseas bids for development projects by giving grants/subsidies to them? We need to help poor countries with exports too (not just free-trade and low-tariffs, but perhaps subsidise UK importing and shipping firms to bring the goods to the UK cheaply?). We can often help these countries by developing their travel industry at both the macro and micro level (and too, we could consider providing them with free UK promotion in this country to attract tourists, perhaps even subsidise the cost of holiday flights to those countries, or even subsidise certain social-enterprise holidays).

    Aid needs to be far more business-orientated to be effective – in my humble opinion.

    1. Iain Moore
      June 20, 2020

      Taken from a report from Center for Global Development….

      “0.7% was never meant to represent the ‘right’ level of aid needed by poor countries. A look at its history shows that it was calculated using methods with little relevance to today.”

      “Originally intended as a political tool to goad rich countries to modestly increase their aid budgets, ”

      “the specific figure of 0.7% was a compromise between educated guesses based on economic conditions in the early 1960s and on a crude and deeply flawed model of growth”

      “The World Council of Churches is a Geneva-based organization that has promoted cooperation between different Christian sects since 1948 asked Dutch agricultural economist Egbert de Vries, a senior World Bank official and devout Christian, to advise it on its aid efforts…..” and to cut it short they thought 1% would do it, it was roughly o.5%, so they went diddle for middle and we got 0.7% target.

      That is it, that is the source of your principle , the economic basis of us spending £14 billion a year, a Christian Group going diddle for middle between 05% and 1% some 60 years ago. If we are spending £14 billion a year in Aid don’t you think there should be more solid economic evidence than that? The fact that having tried Aid over the last 50 years, with precious little evidence to show it has done any good we should be honest about it, there is no economic evidence for the Aid policy, there is no evidence it does any good, its just there to make some people, mostly politicians, feel good, if that is the criteria I think we could do it for a lot less than £14 billion.

  38. graham1946
    June 19, 2020

    Overseas Aid – robbing the poor in rich countries to give to the rich in poor countries.

    We should not give money at all, but provide water pumps for instance or any other goods required and the expertise to install them, made in the UK. and installed under UK supervision. Even the charities cannot be trusted as shown by the ‘sex favours for aid’ of their representatives recently. Even if we supply food for example, as SM says above, and anything marketable just left to the locals to deal with, will end up being corruptly mis-appropriated.

  39. ChrisS
    June 19, 2020

    For me, the most worthwhile aid projects are to provide clean water and hygienic toilets for everyone in the third world.

    These two tick many boxes, making immense contributions in the field of public health and in improving the lives of women. I would, however, not be prepared to spend a single penny in countries like India who deliberately choose not to provide clean water for their people but instead spend money on space programmes and nuclear weapons.

    The UK could do a lot worse than to make a policy decision to single-handedly take on the provision of clean water across the whole of the third world. Our aid budget could certainly afford to fund it.

    1. ChrisS
      June 19, 2020

      PS :
      I have frequently suggested here than our aid budget should provide funding for elements of the Royal Navy, Army and Air Force utillised primarily for disaster relief. At a stroke, this could make good large cuts in the military and the manpower and equipment could be leased back to the MOD in the event of war.

      For example: The Royal Marines desperately needs new assault ships but these are also extremely useful for getting disaster relief ashore when needed. Ditto the shortage we currently have of heavy-lift aircraft and helicopters and the manpower shortages we have in the Army.

  40. A.Sedgwick
    June 19, 2020

    Government does not do the blindingly obvious as sadly witnessed in recent months with more to come as the sociological and economic effects of this extreme lock down are revealed in months and years to come.

    The 0.7% act was folly for several reasons with the annual shovelling of unused budget off shore into whatever NGO coffers just one example of the callous job done attitude.

    The ordinary people of this country are extraordinarily and really unbelievably generous to all manner of charities and ad hoc causes and disasters. For starters all such donations should be automatically 25% gift aided without any income connection.

  41. William Long
    June 19, 2020

    I was very glad to see this change made, and I thought that the names of the people who objected to it illustrated clearly why the change was right.
    Foreign Aid is charity, so the Government, no more than should the Board of a public company with charitable donations, should not disburse it unless to do so is very much in the interests of the electorate that put it into office, and whose money it is. This should be a very golden rule. Foreign Aid should only be disbursed with a clear view to the national interest and great efforts should be directed to ensuring that it is spent on the cause to which it is directed. The latter has been a major failing in the past and is an inevitable consequence of the proportion that currently, as you state, goes through multinational third parties. It is also a consequence though of the quality of the governments of the countries to which the aid goes, which is often a reason why they need the aid in the first place and this should be properly policed.
    I have huge sympathy with poverty and water shortages in deprived areas, but little with political mishaps like the Ukraine. Even in the former though, I see nothing wrong in making an increase in our influence and scope for investment in the former areas a condition of the aid.

  42. nhsgp
    June 19, 2020

    Crowd fund it. I’m sure if you believe in it, you will fund it out of your own pocket.

    There must be millions of people who will pay lots of money for foreign aid.

    Or is it that you want force people to pay for things?

  43. ukretired123
    June 19, 2020

    Charity starts at home!
    Out of sight – out of their minds.
    Most taxpayers never see where it goes but the waste seen personally in Africa and Caribbean is appalling to any professional accountant. The money rarely goes to intended targets but historically siphoned off and is ineffective. Which means the same repeated increased budget is required again. It is difficult to audit and is used as a lever against us if we don’t keep giving.

    In the 1970s Britain gave UK made Bedford trucks to Jamaica as part of the foreign aid and this was a win-win as they are still going strong even today.

    Foreign Aid is proven to be totally counter productive and a failure to help many countries become self sustainable. Just like Labour’s client state handouts are regarded as crutches to a donor reliant lifestyle.

    China has now seen Africa as their new territorial area by making them reliant on their massive investment and imported workers will lock them in with massive future indebtedness.

    We need to sort our own problems first as an absolute priority Sir John as there are millions of families here in Britain who are about to experience serious financial difficulties soon and heavy taxation for years to come. Time to get real, before we all reel from debt.

  44. a-tracy
    June 19, 2020

    UK spending on foreign aid 15th Feb 2018 Fact Check

    “For every hundred pounds that’s made in the UK, seventy pence goes towards foreign aid.In 2016, the UK spent £13.4 billion on overseas aid, in line with the 0.7% target. Because the UK economy is set to get bigger over the next few years the real value of development aid spending is expected to increase.”

    1. Mark B
      June 20, 2020


      See my post above.

  45. a-tracy
    June 19, 2020

    “0.7% is the UN’s target for all developed countries and has been since 1970. In 2015 it was put into UK law, which means that the government has a legal duty to meet the 0.7% target.”


    “About 15% goes as humanitarian aid, or crisis relief, with the rest focused on strategic or long-term goals.

    36% of the money goes via multilateral organisations, like the United Nations. The other 64% goes to programmes in specific countries as bilateral aid.

    The five biggest recipients of bilateral aid are Pakistan, Syria, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Afghanistan. When it comes to continents, significantly more gets spent in Africa (51%) and Asia (42%) than anywhere else.”

  46. Man of Kent
    June 19, 2020

    For ages we have not allowed any electrical power developments In Sub Saharan Africa unless they are 100% green ie photovoltaic or wind .

    Some countries eg Zambia , Mozambique and Uganda have plentiful fossil fuel resources – coal or oil – which could drive power stations as we used to do with Drax until coal was replaced with wood chips from USA.
    They too would like to do this to establish grid electricity on 24/7 basis .

    We do not fund such developments so leaving that to the Chinese who charge the Earth
    ,build with their own labour who never leave and establish a colonial presence .
    What developing countries want and need in order to attain a flourishing economy is grid electricity .

    If they were able to achieve that and get rid of nepotism and corruption at home then the pressure on escaping to get to U.K. would be much diminished .

    As it is we appear not to give a stuff about their futures and simply buy influence with corrupt politicians .

    It would be a step forward for the new DFID to at least plug RR nuclear power plants to provide grid electricity.
    But will Boris (and Carrie ) allow this ?

  47. Anna
    June 19, 2020

    The government should use our taxes on emergency aid when disaster strikes. As to other forms of aid:we know this is largely a racket with ‘consultants’ pocketing six-figure fees and corrupt officials off funds. The British public is amongst the most generous in the world. They should be encouraged to use their private donations to encourage ‘kitchen table’ charities such as Kiva which makes small loans to enterprises in developing countries.

    Defaults on debt are vanishingly small – poor people don’t renege on their debts. I have made small loans for example to an African women’s co-operative who grow and sell vegetables; to a tailor needing an extra sewing machine, and as the loans are repaid a few dollars at a time, I re-lend it to other small entrepreneurs who are working their way out of poverty, repaying their debts and retaining their dignity. That is the way forward. Capitalism that gives people prosperity and self-respect.

    1. hefner
      June 20, 2020

      And much better than having Adam Smith International (a global advisory company based in London) managing these funds.

  48. mancunius
    June 19, 2020

    The government is merely restoring the status quo which previous Labour governments had upset, first by separating DfID from the FCO in 1997, then by giving it more and more cash and less and less oversight; finally by allowing DfID staff to waste resources on the same grand scale as the people they were giving it to. The architects of this wastage are Blair, Brown, David Milliband and Blair’s heir Cameron, who all used DfID to bask at international level in the glow of self-righteous generosity with other people’s money – and they are the ones who are all coincidentally complaining about the restoration 🙂

  49. Man of Kent
    June 19, 2020

    How often do we see advertisements for Water Aid pleading for funds to give kids in the back of beyond clean running water .

    The digging or boring of a well is just the start of the job .
    Where does the power come from to pump the water into a header tank of sufficient size or to power it round a circuit .

    Electrical power is never mentioned in such ads , so what happens to the revenue raised ?
    At best I can only see it being frittered away on mini projects and of course ‘administration ‘.

    1. Fred H
      June 19, 2020

      Out of every £1 given, 26p spent on further fund-raising!

    2. Mark B
      June 20, 2020

      How did these people survive BEFORE the TV ad’ asking you to give £1 ? And how much of that £1 actually goes to helping those people ? I mean, how much goes on advertising, admin, and so on ? Very little I would guess, otherwise why do they keep asking 😉

    3. a-tracy
      June 20, 2020

      How much do wealthy African’s redistribute? Anyone watching these ads would think the whole of Africa is like this, they have fantastic resources, some of the most enterprising Cities but you wouldn’t know that from British tv.

  50. Grahame ASH
    June 19, 2020

    Sir John,

    A good article – thank you. But can you give us some names of the Middlemen who make the decisions as to where the money has gone and is going still. Are they quangos, political or non-political entities? How much do they take for expenses; how much do their CEO get paid. (I won’t say earn.) I tried researching this but only came up with articles by David Zetland. He is a university lecturer in the Netherlands, but, I may be wrong here, seems to be a mouthpiece for and/ or supporter of the Middlemen.

    This whole business seems to be kept under shrouds except for the rare leak that some monies are going unnecessarily to the African spice girls and helping China and India .

    Your comment will be appreciated.

  51. Original Richard
    June 19, 2020

    Last year the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, produced a report on the UK which stated that although the UK is the world’s fifth largest economy, one fifth of its population (14 million people) live in poverty, and 1.5 million of them experienced destitution in 2017.

    The government should use this UN report to explain a cut in the foreign aid budget in order to deal with our own poverty.

  52. Original Richard
    June 19, 2020

    All that the UK aid budget and UK charities have achieved in poor African countries in the last 30+ years, such as Ethiopia, is to triple the population and thus make the situation far worse.

    1. Mark B
      June 20, 2020


  53. Ian
    June 19, 2020

    Where do we start with the gross failings of all Governments,
    How do these dreadful people get given a job anyway, are they even tested, what exams did they pass, that opened a door to being in charge of £ billions.
    This latest on the English Channel, which Nigel Farage. Brought to our attention,
    Is anyone saying that no one knew anything about it, . Well someone must have been intouch with Macron, in order to engage the French , to get there navy to follow the immigrants to the middle of the Channel, only to be picked up by our own Border force !

    Nigel got his collar felt by the Police for filming !?
    So are we saying that not one person in Downing St knew anything about it. We will not believe that this was all done without permission.
    The. Why has no one been sacked ?

    This Government, is even worse than the last, thank you but I will never vote for this deliberately treacherous Government.

    I and many others will henceforth only vote for Farage.

    Real change and Democricy,

    the whole of the Government should be thrown out, and never allowed to come back

  54. Sharon Jagger
    June 19, 2020

    David Blake – Professor of Economics at Cass Business School and a member of Economists for Free Trade
    19 Jun 2020 4:03PM responding to comments made on an article in The Telegraph.
    “Thanks for these comments.

    For months, I have been trying to get wider national coverage for a longer academic analysis posted here: https://briefingsforbritain.co.uk/uk-is-the-eurozones-dumping-ground/

    Only the Telegraph and City AM have been good enough to publish short summaries.

    Yet the structural undervaluation of the euro should be at the heart of our negotiations with the EU.Our domestic producers face an unfair competitive advantage from Eurozone importers of 15-20% and our exporters have a much bigger hill to climb in order to sell into the EZ.

    Yet not once have I heard our government or negotiators mention this, let alone the BBC or CBI etc.”

    1. Caterpillar
      June 20, 2020

      Hmmm, at current exchange rates the median German salary is about 1.2 to 1.4 times greater than that of the U.K. (result depends on which source you take). I think the. GBP is winning (has won) the race to the bottom (and given the Chancellor’s and BoE’s policies of print and consume will continue downwards). A higher currency requires a country to be more productive and have more unique competences, the UK does not aim for any of this, indeed Ms Patel has confirmed the low income model to which the Govt is tied by the low salary requirements for immigration.

      Looking for blame outside the locus of control is not going to help the U.K.

    2. Mark B
      June 20, 2020

      I remember President Trump calling Germany and the EU out on this.

  55. steve
    June 19, 2020


    I heard of this amalgamation the other day, frankly I’m indifferent to it.

    What I do think is that we give far too much to other countries, to whom we owe nothing.

    I’d like to see foreign aid cut and our money spent on us.

    I’d also like to see the barnet formula classed as foreign aid, and scrapped.

  56. David Brown
    June 19, 2020

    You are correct in your comments, India comes to my mind having toured India last year there is severe poverty. As I understand it Britain still gives aid to India yet the Indian Government has a space programme and spends millions on statues. India GDP is higher than Britain, and I know for a fact the Indian people look down on beggars. Their comments to me was “If they can walk they can work”.
    Foreign aid should be significantly reduced and targeted more carefully because I fear that some times we are financing terrorist Governments and to clarify that comment I am not referring to India.

  57. Edward2
    June 19, 2020

    Excellent news today as Toyota announces it will be building a new hybrid car at Burnaston in Derbyshire for distribution all over Europe.
    #despite Brexit
    #another remainer myth bites the dust

    1. Martin in Cardiff
      June 20, 2020

      Well, you’ll just have to hope that there is a proper deal with the European Union, so that this prospect is not destroyed, won’t you?

      1. Fred H
        June 20, 2020

        I’d prefer we didn’t have a ‘proper deal’ That would suggest EU being very happy.

      2. Edward2
        June 20, 2020

        They ask for a free trade arrangement.
        So WTO will be fine.

        1. Martin in Cardiff
          June 20, 2020

          That would mean a 10% tariff on those cars to the European Union.

          That would scupper the project.

          1. Edward2
            June 20, 2020

            The UK will collect huge sums in tariffs.
            And when we are out out of the EU they can use those sums to help subsidise UK vehicle makers.
            My prediction is that the UK and EU will agree a zero tariff on automobiles.

  58. Javelin
    June 19, 2020

    My girlfriend manages a few salons for THE top end hair dresser. She and all the other managers are spitting blood and teeth at the Conservative Party. They have spent fortunes on social distancing stickers. Only to have Boris stab them in the back and change the rules.

    Iam absolutely stunned how this Government think that a day of reckoning will not sythe down the credibility of the Conservative Party. I really would consider retiring John. The party will not survive an objective analysis. This test of credibility has found the party useless.

    1. Lynn Atkinson
      June 20, 2020

      …and my very much poorer small traders have made the same investment which is a bigger proportion of their assets, also all down the drain.
      Is Boris thinking he can do this again to every business regarding Brexit too? So that on 29th December we still don’t know what our trading position is going to be?
      We need to know WTO in 10 days time so we can prepare.

  59. Original Chris
    June 19, 2020

    I believe that much of foreign aid is part of a giant money laundering scam.

    1. Mark B
      June 20, 2020

      Well somebody is doing well out of it. It just ain’t us !

  60. M Davis
    June 19, 2020

    We are no longer in the EU, or so we are told so, no need to follow their rules on State Aid. State Aid comes from Taxpayers money so, any State Aid should only go on helping people in this Country. Obviously, as a Christian Country, we should help out as much as we are able with any people around the world suffering from natural catastrophes.

  61. mancunius
    June 19, 2020

    “it is better to teach a person to fish than to send them fish”
    Quite – and better still to buy what they have to sell when it’s what we want to by: and not to callously exclude them from our markets, as the protectionist EU does with developing countries.

  62. mancunius
    June 19, 2020

    typo: ‘to buy’.

  63. Will in Hampshire
    June 19, 2020

    To use Mr Johnson’s own phrase, it seems that our government’s policy is to continue to provide a “cashpoint in the sky” for many foreign countries. It’s a shame that when he announced that the FCO will take charge of this large flow of money he didn’t take the opportunity to reduce it or put more reasonable limits on it. But putting that to one side, I hope our diplomats will be canny enough to ensure that from now on British aid to foreign countries comes with meaningful reciprocal commitments from their governments attached.

  64. Fedupsoutherner
    June 19, 2020

    Don’t be silly Bob. We’re only taxpayers and don’t count.

  65. Donna
    June 19, 2020

    Any International Aid we give should take the form of Expertise, Equipment and Personnel/manpower.

    Absolutely no money should be handed over to foreign Governments; Officials; Quangos or Charity-Quangos, since it encourages corruption. fraud and the kind of unacceptable behaviour Oxfam (and other) “charity” personnel were indulging in.

  66. Fred H
    June 19, 2020

    We should operate Aid where it is a form of a Business Plan – to fund making things UK wants, grow things we would like to import to eat, sell things to their neighbours.
    Remove the siphoning off money to the local mobsters, warlords.

  67. Mark
    June 19, 2020

    Back on the home front, it seems that we’re getting back to England’s green and pleasant land with the virus fading from many areas completely:


    A shame some of our other problems aren’t fading with similar rapidity.

  68. Lynn Atkinson
    June 20, 2020

    The triple lock is enshrined into law, but when this Government decides who has to do without, it’s ALWAYS the British at the expense of the rest of the world. This really is the Brutish Government!

  69. APL
    June 20, 2020

    Redwood, here is a thing you could have your party’s education secretary make sure is on the national curriculum. Under history of slavery.

    “In 1645, another raid by Barbary pirates on the Cornish coast saw 240 men, women and children kidnapped.” ( kidnapped in this context means taken into Slavery. )


    British government raises £10,000 to buy back captive British citizens.


    1. APL
      June 20, 2020

      Since we currently have a couple of empty plinths, perhaps we should erect a statue to Edmond Cason?

  70. Diane
    June 20, 2020

    It’s not just the outflow of aid monies from our own Department but EU monies are also paid out to non EU states by the EU, pre accession countries or special project payments for non accession states / non european countries. Disaster relief funding not questionable & the UK has always been generous. So long as there is a legally mandated pot of money there which absolutely has to be spent then there is always going to be waste & misuse. Decade after decade we’ve seen money leaving this country & although some good outcomes can be seen, there seems to be a lack of effective oversight & the same problems persist. Mr Farage had the right idea during the election campaign, to halve the FA budget. The government recently wavered over the school meal vouchers issue and costs, for kids in our own country, not an insignificant amount admittedly & I am not saying I wholeheartedly support that but there is a point to be made I think. Another point I have wondered about is whether Foreign Aid money is used to facilitate the livelihoods & much else of all those arriving illegally into our ports and monies for example needed by our local authorities in relation to operational matters and migrants’ needs and, e.g. the per head per night funding for many & hundreds of foreign unaccompanied minors currently under the UK’s care.
    Noted M Davis’s comment above about State Aid; of course that is one of the stumbling blocks during the UK’s negotiations with the EU and complex. We’ll no doubt see how that plays out in due course. I won’t hold my breath.

  71. John Hatfield
    June 20, 2020

    “past aid programmes have not succeeded in breaking the evil spell of poverty.”
    Contraception would be a powerful tool.

  72. Corin M
    June 20, 2020

    Please don’t discount the work of small charities like ours that are using a model proven over 35 years.
    We collect old trade tools and redundant sewing machines, refurbish many of them here in the UK to sell at events and in our own shop. In partnership with SIDO (The Small Industry Development Organisation) we send one fully loaded shipping container a year to Mwanza in Tanzania where our four native staff refurbish and distribute to rural artisan groups to help them become Self-Reliant and earn a living. We have a big impact in a small area.
    Our model though might be our undoing – unusual for a charity, we have generated over 80% of our income by providing a service in this country with a low reliance on grants or donations. The Corona Virus Pandemic has caused all the events on which we used to rely to be cancelled and consequently our loss of income is now a serious cause for concern.
    The thrust that I wish to highlight is this:-
    We are shocked at the amount of reported Foreign Aid thrown away on inconsequential projects. Many would be instantly dismissed by private philanthropic funders.
    Those funders that we are now applying to, to replace our lost income and let our charity survive are always looking for “new and exciting” projects that will give them kudos. They don’t appear to countenance support for continuing projects where the infrastructure, contacts and proven impact already exist. One would be led to suppose that they are happy to give money to “here today, gone tomorrow, forgotten forever” projects.
    Oh for a miniscule fraction of that 0.7% – dream on!
    Corin Mills – Co-Chairman – Tools for Self Reliance Cymru.

    1. ukretired123
      June 22, 2020

      Corin your project sounds eminently sensible with an excellent focussed name and the answer to getting exactly the kind of solution Africans are crying out for. Plus it gives them individual self-esteem and confidence, vital understanding.
      It does not surprise me that you are based in Wales/Cymru where you have your feet n the ground and not in our of touch metropolitan London.
      You should write to the PM, Piri etc and put your excellent track record and proven ideas forward as you should even be an advisor! Keep up the excellent work Sir!

      1. ukretired123
        June 22, 2020

        Apologies Sir or Madam…

  73. na
    June 20, 2020

    Little point leaving the EU if we are just going to follow some sort of globalist vaccination fascism. We will soon not be able to travel anyway without a vaccine passport. I have lost interest.

  74. Michael Staples
    June 21, 2020

    Unless we get rid of the 0.7% GDP floor on foreign aid the system cannot be reformed because money will still be shovelled out of the door as the end of the FY approaches. 0.7% GDP is equivalent to 2.5% of total tax revenues, all of which is currently being borroswed to hand overseas. The situation is scandalous.

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