Managing the overseas aid budget

This year the government has said it will reduce the aid budget in line with the fall in GDP, as the promise on aid is based on spending 0.7% of GDP. As we do so it is important to be generous with grant money and direct assistance for famine relief and humanitarian help for those in crisis. Stopping aid to countries with space programmes would be a good start. Seeking better value for money and better targeted assistance would be a good idea.

As it adjusts the budget it should also make other changes. The UK wishes to help the poorest countries. It can offer a lot in areas like better water provision, health care and communications. In some cases what the developing country needs is a good technical partner with the ability to design and deliver the projects required, and equity investment to carry the risks. The aim should not be to offer massive projects based around debt with all kinds of future ties. If we combined grants and shares, we would then  have some investment which would reward us in due course if successful, and bind us into the same interest as the developing country to make sure the project worked as planned.

Over the years we could build a sovereign help fund, and decide what to do with any payments from success. The important thing is the UK would not be trying to extract interest payments from schemes which were not working but there would be a market test of the wisdom of the investment. Grant aid can miscarry, encouraging projects that do not help as much as they should.

Of course all our humanitarian help, famine and poverty relief and medical interventions should be offered free to those in need. We should stop relying on other international bodies to give away the aid for us.

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163 Comments

  1. oldtimer
    Posted July 25, 2020 at 5:22 am | Permalink

    The principle of supporting risk investment, both at start up and during its maturity, needs to be clearly embodied in a new UK tax code. The extension of this idea to the disbursement of aid money, as you describe, would have my support as would spending on humanitarian and disaster relief when requested. 0.7% is still too high. It owes more to misplaced virtue signalling than to sensible use of my taxes. The G7 average would be a more appropiate level.

  2. GilesB
    Posted July 25, 2020 at 5:39 am | Permalink

    Maslow’s theory shows that the most basic level of needs (air, water, warmth, food) must be met before the individual will strongly desire (or focus motivation upon) the secondary or higher level needs.

    The aid budget should be fully allocated to those basic physiological needs. Not girl bands and diversity training.

    We have neither the right nor the ability to effect culture change.

    • Adam
      Posted July 25, 2020 at 7:43 am | Permalink

      The foundation of Maslow’s pyramid should dictate all aid.
      Safety, at Tier 2 may be worthy too.
      Ministers should be charged for any aid they waste on other tears.

      • GilesB
        Posted July 25, 2020 at 8:29 am | Permalink

        Safety and security is a matter for the defence forces not aid.

        I agree with you about ‘other tears’. 🙂

        • jane4brexit
          Posted July 25, 2020 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

          Sorry I meant that to go to GilesB’s initial comment.

      • jane4brexit
        Posted July 25, 2020 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

        I had doubts about some of those tiers for instance I thought a home should be 1 not 2, but having had an illness that made me incapable of doing anything, I now believe they are ‘spot on’.

    • matthu
      Posted July 25, 2020 at 8:03 am | Permalink

      Can those needs perhaps be met internally if we share with enough of them the necessary technology to be able to collaborate with the rest of the developed world?

      • GilesB
        Posted July 25, 2020 at 8:34 am | Permalink

        In the third world there are few more sickening sights than large crowds of unemployed locals watching hypocritical, virtue signalling aid workers on first world salaries performing simple tasks.

        • jane4brexit
          Posted July 25, 2020 at 11:45 am | Permalink

          Yes teaching people and getting them to set up taps, sanitation etc. would have meant Africa should be swimming in water by now, for all the money spent! I once saw a joke cartoon showing exactly that and the phrase about “…teaching a man to fish” explains your point well.

          By the way thank you for that “other tears” comment re Ministers paying for aid wasted, it made me laugh but they would need massive pay rises.

        • matthu
          Posted July 25, 2020 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

          I was rather thinking more of sharing with them the ability to collaborate over rather more technical things – the sort of things that your own children may be able to do.

          What needs to happen before UK doctors would be able to mentor foreign doctors remotely, or UK diagnostic technicians teach foreign diagnostic technicians remotely?

  3. Cheshire Girl
    Posted July 25, 2020 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    You say that the UK wishes to help the poorest countries. My question is, what are they doing to help themselves?

    It is up to their Governments to help them. I am 81, and we have been pouring money into ‘developing’ countries for as long as I can remember. Too many of them are poor because of years of civil war and mismanagement by their governments. Its never ending.

    We have a real problem looming in our own. country now. we cannot afford to be generous to other countries.

    In my opinion, we should have an Emergency Fund to distribute to others for natural disasters, as and when they happen, and leave it at that.

    • Posted July 25, 2020 at 6:26 am | Permalink

      I so agree.

      • JoolsB
        Posted July 25, 2020 at 10:23 am | Permalink

        So do I. Well said Cheshire Girl.

    • Peter Wood
      Posted July 25, 2020 at 8:49 am | Permalink

      Quite correct. I’d go further, having worked in so called ‘developing countries’, that if you pay someone to behave badly, ie giving free money to the management of chronically poor (mismanaged) nations, then they will continue to do so.

      Aid should only be to assist in emergencies only, NOT for development of someone else’s economy. Remember we have to BORROW every penny we give away!

    • A.Sedgwick
      Posted July 25, 2020 at 9:08 am | Permalink

      Quite, it is another example of our governments ignoring the blindingly obvious. Brits are a very charitable people, already contribute quietly to overseas distress and disasters and government should automatically give the 25% tax relief and perhaps match private contributions. Simply it needs some privatisation and left more to the people to decide.

    • MWB
      Posted July 25, 2020 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      Totally agree.

    • glen cullen
      Posted July 25, 2020 at 10:09 am | Permalink

      I remember a delegation of academics and industrialists from South Africa in a debate some twenty years ago asking the west to stop sending it any aid (note that the debate didn’t include politicians) ….they realised its actual stops their organic growth

    • matthu
      Posted July 25, 2020 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps we cannot not afford to be generous to other countries.

      We need to be able to attract inward investment here. Perhaps that will only come if we are simultaneously exporting technological know-how to foreign countries that we have close links to. And that needs to happen without migrating large numbers of people backwards and forwards.

      What we really need is the ability to provide quality education and mentoring remotely by some means.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted July 25, 2020 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

      I agree with everything you say here Cheshire Girl.

  4. Mark B
    Posted July 25, 2020 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    I never voted for Foreign Aid. It was not in any party political manifesto that we would give away such wealth. Therefore I do not believe the government has the moral right to do this let alone decide who gets what.

    Sir John, I have many times stated that if one was to journey outside the Palace of Westminster and Number 10, you will see people sleeping in doorways and tents. By what moral right sir so you politicians give vast sums of money away whilst this human tragedy goes unmentioned, let alone unaddressed, under your very noses ? This is why we elect people like your goodself, to act as a voice for the people of this country and not just those who can scream the loudest. Those people’s lives matter too, but no one will say or do a damned thing about it ! And this is why I, and many others, get so angry. Not with you, but the inertia.

    We should not be giving any money to countries that are not democracies – Period !

    We should not be giving money to countries that fund or support terrorism – Period !

    We should not be giving money to countries that are hostile to us and our way of life – Period !

    We should not be giving money to countries that have programs (space and nuclear etc.) – Period !

    We should not be giving money to countries who refuse to buy our goods and services or place high tariffs on them.

    We should not be giving money to countries with terrible human and animal rights – Period !

    But we should be giving money to countries that are none of those things but are in genuine need. But the best way to help these countries is through trade. Trade is the best cure for many of the worlds ills and we should pursue that as our main foreign policy, not Soft Socialism and some sort of guilt because our forefathers had built and Empire, primarily because of trade.

    • agricola
      Posted July 25, 2020 at 6:33 am | Permalink

      Trade not Aid every time, except to alleviate natural disasters.

      • glen cullen
        Posted July 25, 2020 at 10:11 am | Permalink

        concur…trade not aid

    • Andy
      Posted July 25, 2020 at 6:34 am | Permalink

      David Cameron had it in his manifesto. He won a majority. It is now law. It is how democracy works in this country. If you don’t like it campaign for a change and get elected. Easy.

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted July 25, 2020 at 11:01 am | Permalink

        It is how democracy works in this country.

        Indeed it is. And what a crooked, useless democracy we have. A choice at each general election between Tweedledee and Tweedledum – courtesy of our absurd first-past-the-post political system. I would suggest that the majority of Tory voters would prefer there were no overseas aid – only disaster relief – but they still vote Tory because they can’t bear the idea of Labour. Vote for nurse for fear of something worse.

        Of course, overseas aid would be a perfect subject for a referendum. Then you would find out what the PEOPLE think, not the bloody politicians and virtue signallers at the BBC. But, we don’t like referendums – do we? I mean, look at the Brexit referendum. That came up with the wrong result – despite the fact it was the most obvious example of actual democracy in my lifetime.

        • Posted July 25, 2020 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

          A referendum costs £50 million. How many do you want?

      • Bonji
        Posted July 25, 2020 at 11:38 am | Permalink

        Strange how remainers oppose democracy when it suits.

      • czerwonadupa
        Posted July 25, 2020 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

        As a certain Mr Farage said, manifestos aren’t worth the paper they’re written on, which is why much to the annoyance of msm the Brexit Party didn’t have one. Cameron didn’t say he would be giving £71 million to the Chinese communist party, just like he had nothing in his manifesto about gay marriage.
        Any country that has a space & rocket programme should not be receiving money from the British tax payer.

      • Graham Wheatley
        Posted July 25, 2020 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

        Andy, …. does that also apply to the 23rd June 2016 Referendum result………?

      • jerry
        Posted July 25, 2020 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

        @Andy; Indeed it was, a pledge to uphold the UK’s commitment to spend 0.7% of our GDP on International development (bullet point #4 on page 75 of the 2015 Manifesto, PDF version).

        uphold our commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of gross national income on international
        development.

      • Pud
        Posted July 25, 2020 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

        Boris had leaving the EU in his manifesto. He won a 80 seat majority, unlike pretend to leave May. If you don’t like it, campaign to rejoin the EU and yet elected. Not very easy.

    • Anonymous
      Posted July 25, 2020 at 6:39 am | Permalink

      And we certainly shouldn’t be giving money to the dramatic arts of a certain era – Period !

    • BOF
      Posted July 25, 2020 at 7:14 am | Permalink

      I agree in full Mark B. What is entirely wrong is that .7% of GDP is handed out, by law. I do not know anyone who agrees with it and we did not vote for it.

      • a-tracy
        Posted July 26, 2020 at 9:20 am | Permalink

        BOF clever politicians could spend 0.7% wisely on international development, decide the projects and use British manufacturing to meet the targets in line with useful alliances. Why did Cameron put it into Law who instructed the UK they had to do this, can’t laws be changed?

        I’d love to compare how we do things compared with self-protectionist France and Germany.

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted July 25, 2020 at 7:28 am | Permalink

      Agree Mark

      Have been saying the same for years but our Government of all colours just fails to listen, instead it just prefers the easy option of giving large sums of money away with little or no control over where it eventually goes or what it is used for.

      Simple projects like helping provide clean water for some countries would be a good start, not just by paying into a fund, but by managing the project with GB equipment and management.

      • Adam
        Posted July 26, 2020 at 6:46 am | Permalink

        If women and children who own near to nothing walk miles each day to carry 5 galls of water home, might the men find them a safer home nearer to where needed.

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted July 25, 2020 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      “We should not be giving money to countries that fund or support terrorism – Period !

      We should not be giving money to countries that are hostile to us and our way of life – Period !”

      True – but it wouldn’t make much difference. Instead of sat there – they would just come here and cost us even more – welcomed by our leaders – and paid for from our taxes – as they wipe out our way of life – and us.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted July 25, 2020 at 8:03 am | Permalink

      I think we should increase the percentage that we give in foreign aid.

      I would happily support 3% of any budget surplus from the previous year being allocated for foreign aid, targeted wisely. I do not support borrowing money to give away. Compound interest makes those gifts exponentially expensive.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted July 25, 2020 at 8:44 am | Permalink

        To expand on giving a percentage of budget surplus this would mean that foreign aid spending was the subject of hard decisions rather than a worthy and ostentatious gesture.

        Those advocating it would need to decide what in this country did not get funding in order to generate a surplus.

        As it is this empty gesture of 0.7% probably is an addition to public spending included after all other spend has been agreed and then tacked on as a few extra billion pounds to borrow.

        It is too easy. It needs to be harder.

        • Posted July 25, 2020 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

          +1 of politicians can turn a surplus they can spend 3% of it abroad as far as I am concerned.

      • Christine
        Posted July 25, 2020 at 9:18 am | Permalink

        I am happy for you to give 3% of your income to Foreign Aid. Please don’t give any of my taxes. All charity should be voluntary and this includes the Foreign Aid budget.

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted July 25, 2020 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

        Great comment. Budget surplus, snow storm in Jeddah more likely.

      • hefner
        Posted July 25, 2020 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

        NS, ‘3% of any budget surplus from the previous year’. That looks very generous then one can ask: In the recent past, say since 1979, how many times has such a surplus materialised?
        Eight times in the last sixty years!
        That might be a good idea to decrease the population in developing countries and even possibly curb immigration. Have you ever thought to start a career as a politician? You might possibly end up in DfID/FC(D)O.

      • Posted July 25, 2020 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

        It should be illegal for any government to borrow money to spend outside our borders – that goes for ‘payments for trade’ like the EU membership bill too.

        • glen cullen
          Posted July 26, 2020 at 9:52 am | Permalink

          +1 agree

    • Fred H
      Posted July 25, 2020 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      Aid should consist of birth control products, procedures. Health measures if provided by UK staff ie vaccination, immunisations, eye operations (like ORBIS which I support). Clean water – assistance with training locals to dig/operate wells, provision of the items most required. Training in agricultural methods to boost local production.
      I would like to see the 0.7% figure drop to 0.1% over the next 2 years. This would allow programs underway to be completed, and the Aid cost drop from £15bn to £2bn.

      • Posted July 25, 2020 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

        But we have done the reverse by ‘saving the children’. The 3rd world expects to lose every other child, but we saved them so now they have to come to live in the U.K. – no sequential thinking at all.

    • turboterrier
      Posted July 25, 2020 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      Totally correct Mark. Who in the current list of ministers is going to fight for common sense and listen to the people?
      If the data is correct about the link between Cobid and obesity amongst the UK Asian community, that would be a better place to start with “aid” as it is ultimately the taxpayer and the NH S who end up footing the bill. Sort out the many humane problems on this island first.

    • jane4brexit
      Posted July 25, 2020 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      I agree with all you say except I did vote on a manifesto that said it would reduce aid and so a vote on aid was possible. The UKIP manifesto in 2017 said it would reduce aid to .2% and target that aid to disasters, medical ships to Africa and other more practical uses. That policy was in their earlier and later manifestos too and I think it may also have been in The Brexit Party manifesto, in which case I voted on it then as well.

      I knew May would let us down and couldn’t vote for her and I am not totally convinced re Boris. Of course UKIP is no longer a sensible vote alternative, but had people known what was in that manifesto without fear of the name, it should have won in a landslide as much was what conservative people say they want.

      I believe Boris only won because he told us we would get a real Brexit. So if there is any problem in delivering that, then the Conservative party might do well to have a look at that manifesto and it is still online.

      Comment sections on sites such as The Conservative Women show a large percentage of traditional conservatives who once voted Conservative no longer do and certainly didn’t in 2019, despite the 80 odd majority and so a few tips on conservative policies would be useful to them.

      Talking of whether we will get the Brexit we voted for ie: out which likely meant WTO no ‘soft’ about it, Sir John please could you confirm that the time we leave the transition perriod on the 31st December will not lead to any problems please?

      Previously we were told we would leave at 11pm on leaving days, to allow for our clocks going back. I have not seen this mentioned this time and of course midnight 31st December in the UK will be 1am 1st January 2020 Brussels time.

      I wouldn’t put it past the EU and Remainers here, to claim that hour difference means that we are liable for our dues and their Covid bailouts in 2020 or even worse, that we have entered into a new 7 year budget period. Please could you confirm that that is not possible Sir John, or if you cannot please could you look into it and alert Boris, Frost etc. in fact everyone you can please?

      .

      • jane4brexit
        Posted July 25, 2020 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

        Sorry my mistake I should have said “…1st January 2021 Brussels time”.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted July 25, 2020 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

      Mark B. You should be in politics. So right on every count. The more of Johns posts I read the more out of touch I see politicians are. They should or be spending our money like confetti when so many are in need here.

      • Mark B
        Posted July 27, 2020 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

        You’re not the first person to say that too me.

  5. Lifelogic
    Posted July 25, 2020 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    “a market test of the wisdom of a government investment” that would be good here at home – but how many project here would pass such a test (were it to be conducted sensibly)? Certainly not NHS, Hinkley C, wind farms grants, solar cell roof grants, grants for electric cars, most QUANGOs, the Committee for Climate Change, importing bio fuels, the office of tax simplification (actually of complexification), much of the benefit system, the green grants for insulation, the subsidised restaurant dinners on Mon – Wed and much else.

    I suppose some of the overseas aid budget must do some good but I suspect it is a very low percentage of it. People who give (circa £15 million of tax payers money) to an all-female pop group dubbed Ethiopia’s Spice Girls do not seem likely to be the type of people who spend aid money sensibly. On such things as health care, clean water, better food, inoculations, maternity care, supply of electricity, more resilient buildings, better sewage systems and the likes.

  6. David_Kent
    Posted July 25, 2020 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    What an excellent idea, we could have an explicit famine relief fund, variable in size depending on need with all surplus money to go in equity investment stakes as you suggest.
    Some project however are mixed in effect; for example, Bees for Development supports teaching beekeeping to rural people (mostly women in Africa), the objective is to help them earn more money and independence. This has both a charitable aspect and a commercial one but it might be difficult measure profit and loss.

  7. agricola
    Posted July 25, 2020 at 6:04 am | Permalink

    We the UK public are bombarded day and night on TV to give support to very basic projects. Most of the recipient countries involved.have been independant of their colonial masters for around 70 years. We who are chastised for having had an empire that gave them railways, bridges, a basis of law and a civil administration are now asked to care for their abandoned children, give fresh water from wells, and protect their wild life. It begs the question of what have they been doing for these causes for themselves for the past seven decades. The answer to which is all too often acquiring a bloared wealthy leadership, fighting wars, and ignoring the needs of their people. Should we be encoursging them by picking up the tab. The charitable status of the organisations involved would be worth investigation as well. On top of this our government would wish us to give 0.07% of our GDP when we cannot even look after our own vulnerable and elderly. On top of it all we have to feel guilty for ever having had an empire. Mostly a guilt engendered by elements who were not born in the UK, and would have us rewrite history and topple statues to emphasise that guilt. While I would not respond to these siren calls, nor would I wish to become entirely uncharitable, I would question the scale on which we do it and the way it creates a bloated leadership in the countries concerned while failing to touch their destitute populations. I would confine it to disaster relief where we controlled the operation.

    • Cheshire Girl
      Posted July 25, 2020 at 6:46 am | Permalink

      Agricola.

      In my opinion, your post has very well, summed up the annoyance and frustration many of us feel about being made to feel guilty, for things over which we had no control, and I don’t think we should have to pay the licence fee to listen to this barrage of endless appeals to ‘donate’. ’

      • steve
        Posted July 25, 2020 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

        Cheshire Girl

        “…frustration many of us feel about being made to feel guilty”

        Personally I don’t feel guilty at all, why should I ? I’ve done nothing wrong.

        I live what’s left of my life in peace and mind my own business. Yes, the country is finished, stolen from under our feet by traitors. But when the reckoning happens, which it will, I intend to go out in a blaze of glory.

        Bide your time, this is the last conservative government you will see, and certainly the end of the Westminster con merchant’s duopoly who’ve been running this country into the ground over the decades.

        • glen cullen
          Posted July 26, 2020 at 9:54 am | Permalink

          +1

    • formula57
      Posted July 25, 2020 at 7:55 am | Permalink

      @ agricola – Well said!

      The provision of “railways, bridges, a basis of law and a civil administration” together with many other enduring benefits not least amongst them introduction of the English language should certainly feature when and if reparations are discussed. The huge amounts due to us for those provisions would dwarf settlements in favour of anyone now living who was in slavery.

    • Posted July 25, 2020 at 8:07 am | Permalink

      @Agricola. Yep. It would be interesting to know the true % of GDP – above 0.7% – once the expenditure of taxpayer subsidised charities is taken into account. Maybe a figure is published somewhere ?

      Should the government, on behalf of us taxpayers, take more of an interest in how charities spend money – although maybe charities have been making a better attempt at self regulation following the Oxfam/Haiti debacle ?

      • hefner
        Posted July 25, 2020 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

        I guess that’s what the remit of ‘The Charity Commission for England and Wales‘ (created 2006), ‘The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland’ (created 2008) and ‘The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator’ (created 2003) is.

        • Posted July 25, 2020 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

          Hi Hefner

          One particular issue has caused me some concern. I contacted the Chancellor/HM Treasury and my local MP (Stuart Anderson). The office of my local MP has been particularly helpful. I would imagine that HM Treasury is very busy at the moment 🙂

          I subsequently contacted the Charity Commission and the Competition and Markets Authority. However, I have been advised that the European Commission remains the UK’s State aid regulator for the duration of the Transition Period. I understand this means that the Competition and Markets Authority cannot look further into any allegations of unlawful or misused State aid and complaints should be addressed to the Commission, which I will do.

          There is also the matter of the charity code of ethics.
          https://www.gov.uk/government/news/charity-commission-responds-to-draft-charity-code-of-ethics

          https://charityretailshops.blogspot.com/

          • a-tracy
            Posted July 26, 2020 at 9:28 am | Permalink

            What is the purpose of the UK Charity Commissions then if they just pass the buck to the EU? How much do we spend on those commissions if they have no purpose?

      • hefner
        Posted July 25, 2020 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

        BTW, I read your post ‘Charities and charity shops’ (10 April 2020) on your website. Informative and asking some relevant questions.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted July 25, 2020 at 9:19 am | Permalink

      Maybe it’s something to do with the hundreds of millions of excess deaths that the British Empire has been calculated to have caused over its centuries.

      There have been a number of respectable studies, notably by Harvard University.

      It would appear that imperialism is a far more murderous thing than any fashionable political ideology.

      • Fred H
        Posted July 25, 2020 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

        bet you got that out of a Chinese fortune cookie.

      • Anonymous
        Posted July 25, 2020 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

        Actually Communism holds that record.

        Don’t forget the good that came from Imperialist vaccines and its progression towards averting an asteroid extinction event and – despite its part in creating it – its part in spotting global warming from above.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted July 26, 2020 at 6:57 am | Permalink

          I. Don’t. Think. So.

          • Anonymous
            Posted July 26, 2020 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

            Talk to the hand…

      • Bob Dixon
        Posted July 26, 2020 at 5:15 am | Permalink

        What about religion?

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted July 26, 2020 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

          Yep.

    • Posted July 25, 2020 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      Spot on!

  8. Posted July 25, 2020 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    Why is it up to the government to provide aid?
    Why can’t the Charities and, above all, the very efficient Churches do it?

    • matthu
      Posted July 25, 2020 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

      No need for government to provide regular, ongoing aid. No need for charities to provide regular, ongoing aid. No need for churches to provide regular, ongoing aid.

      The aid will be provided by a massive wave of inward investment as these countries acquire sufficient leading edge technology to be able to collaborate effectively with the rest of the developed world.

  9. Andy
    Posted July 25, 2020 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    DFID is a remarkable success story. Its aid budget is incredibly well spent – hugely benefiting many of the world’s poorest people but also helping the UK by dealing with problems at their source. If you don’t help people in their own countries you end up helping them in your country instead.

    Of course we all hear stories of badly spent cash. The Mail would have had nothing else to print for the last decade if it couldn’t have a good old whine about something or other involving money and foreigners. But nearly all of the poor aid spending was spent by departments other than DFID. The MoD and Foreign Office both making some particularly poor choices. Scrapping DFID will just make this worse – but apparently Dominic Cummings knows best. (As the multitude of lorry parks now springing up all over Kent shows).

    But, seriously, international aid really is a silly thing for you all to get your knickers in a twist about. Your individual contribution is negligible – and your minute sacrifice helps keep sick children alive. None of you would tell a mother to her face that your 13p contribution is too much to save her dying child’s life – so stop moaning about it online. Instead celebrate what must be a rare feeling for many of you – that you are actually doing something good.

    • steadyeddie
      Posted July 25, 2020 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      👍

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted July 25, 2020 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      Some people apparently don’t want to do any good, but rather, the very opposite.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted July 25, 2020 at 9:38 am | Permalink

        For instance, they would, if they could, destroy the most civilised, enlightened, and successful peace project that this benighted globe has ever seen – the European Union.

        • Edward2
          Posted July 25, 2020 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

          Name them.
          They sound awful.

        • Fred H
          Posted July 25, 2020 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

          I thought you were going to say ‘Hong Kong’

        • Anonymous
          Posted July 25, 2020 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

          Don’t forget NATO and nuclear weaponry.

    • jerry
      Posted July 25, 2020 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      @Andy; “DFID is a remarkable success story. Its aid budget is incredibly well spent”

      I have no doubt all the many recipients of DIFD funds think so!

      The real judgement though is not the budgets girth but VFM, the jury is still out on that one, even more so were DIFD has channelled funding via NGOs whose back-office or independent fund raising operations can be dwarf their front line aid and relief work (whether such front line money is well spent of not, or even gets to the right people).

      “Scrapping DFID will just make this worse”

      Anything DIFD can do the FCO can do, indeed by many of the same people, DIFD having been a sub of the FCO for some years, has it not?

    • RichardP
      Posted July 25, 2020 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      Many regard UK Aid as a cynical form of colonialism.
      As for lorry parks in Kent, we’ve been waiting for those for years. Kent is gridlocked every time a French strike closes Calais.

      • jerry
        Posted July 26, 2020 at 6:38 am | Permalink

        @RichardP; “Kent is gridlocked every time a French strike closes Calais.”

        Rather than lorry parks in Kent, if we are going to concrete over farm land, perhaps we just need more factories etc. here in the UK, or more capacity at our container and bulk shipping ports?

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted July 25, 2020 at 11:04 am | Permalink

      I, and I am sure many others, have been bunging some water aid charity money for 35 years or more – since about the time of Live Aid I would guess. When are they going to get the wells sunk so that everyone in Africa has access to fresh drinking water? This seems to be taking a very long time. I wonder where the money is actually going.

      • Fred H
        Posted July 26, 2020 at 8:07 am | Permalink

        But Water Aid spend 26% of donations on fundraising.

    • lonji
      Posted July 25, 2020 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      Maths obviously not your strong point. Why should the UK be responsible for every starving child in the world in an era of overpopulation and effective contraception?

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted July 25, 2020 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      However negligible my individual contribution is not the issue. The sum of the parts is £12 billion which could be used for other things and on which we pay interest.

      If DfID is such a success why do so many British people like you let alone the recipients of our magnificence think so little of us?

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted July 25, 2020 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      When are these countries going to accept responsibility for themselves.
      We’ve been shovelling aid money abroad for 60 plus years and things are as bad as ever.

    • Graham Wheatley
      Posted July 25, 2020 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

      You are Xi Jinping, and I claim my ¥50m ……

  10. Nigl
    Posted July 25, 2020 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    The Smart rules under which it operates are extra ordinarily comprehensive and stress value for money and transparency nonetheless I wonder how they can be applied when the budget ‘must be spent’ in a calendar year, obviously leads and lags apply but how much just gets shipped out to UN agencies or charities get ‘topped up’ over which we have no control.

    Being able to cut a few billions in year because our economy has declined just shows how much goes out without the Smart rules being applied diligently.

    Certainly 35% ish of the budget goes to the UN.

    In terms of actual recipients how much are they spending on their armed forces because indirectly our aid is subsidising them and should stop as is where corruption is endemic or frankly where no improvements are made year on year a country with massive oil reserves, space programmes or indeed nuclear capabilities, should not be receiving our money.

    The ‘must spend the budget‘ must stop. The British Public would have no problem with being told we couldn’t meet the target because the projects didn’t meet our standards. Indeed having to spend invariably leads to waste.

    Finally quarterly the Department should publish a report setting out , country, project, budget, spend run off similar to a PLCs financial performance update with the Minister available to the press for questions on our behalf.

    Vast amounts of our money are spent with little/no visibility or accountability to us. This must change.

    £300 million or close on an airport for an island of 4000 people, but unable to operate fully because of wind shear that no one thought about it (Like VAT in the London olympics budget or data protection in our latest fiasco, track and trace or the economic effect of a pandemic) remains my abiding memory. Oh and so does the fact than only a very few countries meet their 0.07 obligation. Why do we have to be one of them?

    • Mark
      Posted July 25, 2020 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      Perhaps there are other Napoleons they should be guarding instead.

  11. DOMINIC
    Posted July 25, 2020 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    Foreign aid is not about humanitarianism, it’s about politics at both a domestic and international level. All State spending is about politics. The private sector taxpayer has become nothing more than a slave to the Tory-Labour machine.

    We live in a nation whose political, administrative and organisational class (The State) have only one focus, to preserve and expand their status by abusing the taxpayer and silencing all opposition to their deceitful

    If the political class were humanitarian they’d have intervened in a humanitarian crisis much closer to home. They CHOSE silence. A politically ruthless and brutal response to pain and suffering of the most vulnerable to protect their political position.

    We’re not governed by human beings but by people who are something other than. My father calls them ‘political animals’. He’s correct

    • Everhopeful
      Posted July 25, 2020 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      You are so right.
      If you were wrong ( which you are NOT) at least a handful of humane MPs would have stood up and said “ Enough” with regard to the present shenanigans.
      There is a strong rumour that the govt. will impose mandatory glove wearing soon!
      Political animals and we their pawns!
      How many are they letting die with no access to medical care?

  12. Adam
    Posted July 25, 2020 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    Independent nations favouring wastefully expensive projects over supporting their own folk should receive only our stern guidance to reform.

    UK’s overseas aid is sloppy, and confinement to urgencies like drinking water and emergencies is a sole priority. Acting like an international branch of the Benefits Agency promotes only stupidity to deprive our own citizens.

    If other aid projects are worthy of support, they would gain enough strength to yield returns. Instead of wasting our money our Govt could enable AidShare Projects for willing UK citizens to invest in such ventures. If a project works, both investor and aid recipient can wallow in the benefit of the proceedings.

  13. Javelin
    Posted July 25, 2020 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    It is well worth looking at the graph of the Dow Index of US electronic manufacturers. It shows a continuous steady rise in share prices since Trump came to power from 100 to 300. The virus caused a small dip but the trend has continued in an accelerating line.

    Compare this to HSBC FTSE share price which has been flat for 5 years and is heavily exposed to China and it’s shares dropped from 7500 to 5000 in Feb 2020 and has only recovered to 6000.

    The market clearly expects a decoupling from China and a continued success from Trump bringing electronic manufacturing back from China.

    It shows the globalist agenda to off shore is brittle and has the potential to cause large, sudden and unpredicted losses from off shore investments. Whilst nationalistic on shoring is creating large, steady, profits in the long term.

    Some good news for nationalists.

    • Christine
      Posted July 25, 2020 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      The DOW has only gone up because the FED is pumping billions of dollars into it. Making the rich richer.

  14. beresford
    Posted July 25, 2020 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    We could make our Foreign Aid conditional on the recipient agreeing to accept a number of the illegal immigrants crossing the Channel. It would be a small sacrifice for the host country to make because they don’t provide benefits and in any case the newcomers would be off to their own countries as soon as the plane landed. The cross channel flow would rapidly drop to a trickle with the demise of the smugglers’ business model, as has been proven by Australia.

    • GilesB
      Posted July 25, 2020 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      Excellent idea

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted July 25, 2020 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      People coming across the channel are from the countries receiving aid. I don’t think they want to go back.

  15. Posted July 25, 2020 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    How many years have we been sending money to poor countries, only to see it wasted — Surely by now all of our money should have solved a few issues…. but that is far from the case – nothing has improved — Time we taxpayers asked why!

    Wars and disasters should be our priority in FA. We should stop funding the political elite of poor countries — Why do we send money to India and China? — Why do we always get involved? Why can’t we allow them to make their own way without shoving our way of life and money down their throat, when a good trade deal would do so much more for them.

    Charity should start at home – we have more than enough needy of our own to be supporting others.

    • glen cullen
      Posted July 25, 2020 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      agree – stop all aid and starting trading

  16. Steve Reay
    Posted July 25, 2020 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    The government simply needs to look after it own people first before giving tax payers money away. There’s still child poverty and lack of houses to start with. When all our problems are sorted then is the time to be generous . Overseas aid is seen as more political than genuinly supporting those in need of the aid. Some aid ends up in some dodgy leaders back pocket.

  17. Bob Dixon
    Posted July 25, 2020 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    There must be many ways we can use this fund within the U.K.There are many U.K. charities
    Who work overseas. Why should the Government get involved?

    • glen cullen
      Posted July 25, 2020 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      Politicians see Aid as a PR opportunity nothing more nothing less

      But once an Aid programme has started our politicians haven’t the bottle to reverse it

  18. John Plumb
    Posted July 25, 2020 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Sir John

    We should compell large companies that have committed crimes such as the diesel emissions scandal to construct wells in countries thet suffer from poor water supply etc instead of fining them and the money disappearing into the treasury, e.g. Construct and train the local people to maintain 1,000 wells for every £1 million pounds of proposed fine. This would reduced the amount of taxpayers’ money being used!

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted July 25, 2020 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

      Alternatively, fines in such cases could be used to compensate those actually suffering harm or loss. And we should expect those in arid countries to dig out wells and latrines for themselves.

  19. matthu
    Posted July 25, 2020 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    Perhaps aid (in the form of investment) could be directed at international companies who set up here but with a main expressed intent of using technology to collaborate, mentor and offer opportunities to people in foreign countries who are deserving of aid.

  20. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted July 25, 2020 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    All aid spending should return to these shores either in buying goods from this country or by paying British workers to provide aid. Aid should not be an export industry.

    • matthu
      Posted July 25, 2020 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      Aid in the form of knowledge could>/i> very easily become an export industry.

      Just as some of us might have been thinking how we need to improve our own office space (or broad-band connection) in order to work effectively from home (or perhaps home-school our children), so people in other countries are needing to do exactly that in order to be able to receive quality education.

      But once that is possible – then we have a ready made export industry!

      (Provided that we have something worthwhile to export, and people prepared to collaborate effectively using technology which facilitates long-distance collaboration.)

      • Posted July 25, 2020 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

        There are those to whom it is impossible to impart knowledge.

  21. Gordon
    Posted July 25, 2020 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    I think the best way to continue aid is to carry on sending large sums to China, and not doubt other similarly nasty regimes, and make sure it is done in unaccountable, counterproductive ways that ensures that most of the money ends up in criminal hands. That’s always been the way international aid is handled and this authoritarian government is certainly not even remotely competent enough to change that.

  22. Dave Andrews
    Posted July 25, 2020 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    Don’t give money away at all. Help by sending relief workers, paying their wages and for the equipment and supplies they need to do their work.
    If you want to give money as a private individual, there are plenty of charities who will take it, just don’t give away tax money.
    I get the feeling that foreign aid is a euphemism for bribes for corrupt regimes to bend them to do something the UK wants. Money for countries with their own space programmes makes no sense otherwise.

    • Posted July 25, 2020 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

      @Dave Andrews. A gift from a private individual to a charity usually involves giving away tax money too. Not necessarily a bad thing, although I suppose that might depend on how much tax money and what happens to it.

    • matthu
      Posted July 25, 2020 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      What do you think they are trying to achieve by having their own space programmes?

      They are trying to attract enough inward investment to be able to finance all of the relief effort they will ever need for years into the future. After all, relief effort is generally pretty low technology stuff, and we certainly don’t need to supply that sort of aid that from here, nor teach them how to provide it.

    • Mark B
      Posted July 25, 2020 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

      I agree. The money is being used as bribes.

  23. Pat
    Posted July 25, 2020 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Off topic.
    The government needs to understand that those people arising it on Covid will want to keep doing so for as long as possible. That is the way with any organisation, however informal.
    Hence they will never advise that the problem is over. At some point they will have to be told to stand down.

  24. Iain Moore
    Posted July 25, 2020 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    0.7% Aid figure was dreamt up by a Christian group who picked the figure on the basis of what they could get away with. It is on this economic ‘body of work’ the British political class have us spending £14 billion a year.

    By any measure Aid is a policy failure, for all the countries in need of Aid 60 years ago are in need of Aid now, the only difference they need more Aid now. Developing countries are locked into developing country status, they never progress.

    Aid is really a monstrous client state operation sustaining multinational charity operations. The only reason it is there is to make the self loathing liberal classes feel good about themselves. If there is economic blight in Africa it is because they elected left wing Socialist regimes when they got independence. As such it makes no sense to apply left wing welfare solutions to problems the left have caused.

    • Posted July 25, 2020 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

      Oh the professional Christians who pay mo taxes at all? And then tithe – and day what a battle it is to do so?

  25. Caterpillar
    Posted July 25, 2020 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    A sovereign wealth angel investor approach to aid may be reasonable. Given the state in which Hancock and Sunak’s policies have placed the U.K., perhaps U.K. should have (and needs) a broader and more balanced portfolio than the suggested angel approach. This would also be another front on which to compete with China, of course U.K. would be late to the game, but at least would be in it.

    Patel’s low income threshold for immigration needs to be increased to at least GDP per capita for individuals entering U.K. If cheap labour is then still supported in the U.K. despite its impact on social mobility of low income nationals, increasing of inequality etc., then it might be slightly more ethically justifiable to permit short temporary visas, the people returning to their homes hopefully with increased skills and having been sending remittances home (over the world these are more targetted, less corrupt and greater than aid).

  26. Mark
    Posted July 25, 2020 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Perhaps we should look at what China has been doing with its Belt and Road policies. They are not shy about building a coal fired power station that uses local coal and greatly expands access to electricity. Of course, they are also looking at access to local resources for themselves. We seem happy to let the Chinese secure that access, while only offering puny solar lighting (probably made in China) instead of reliable power. China clearly uses aid to expand its empire. It is of course also not above simply bribing local elites, and tacking on onerous repayments to their deals. We can be more ethical, with an aim to improve lives to reduce migration pressures.

  27. Alan Jutson
    Posted July 25, 2020 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    I think most people in the Country would agree with you JR, so why does it not happen !

    Why is it not proposed, perhaps too many politicians being frightened of being labelled heartless by an active minority of extreme left protestors.

  28. Christine
    Posted July 25, 2020 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Just as the Foreign Aid budget increased with the rise in GDP then it must decrease with the fall in GDP. This is because it’s enshrined in law. A law your party stupidly put in place as a sop to the Liberal Democrats. Your party is trying to sell the decrease to the British people as something that they have consciously implemented. As with so many failings from this Government, all we hear is talk with no meaningful improvements. So many voters only lent Boris their vote. Time is ticking and if he doesn’t deliver meaningful reforms soon then he won’t get re-elected. It’s as simple as that and nobody is fooled by the spin from this Government.

  29. JoolsB
    Posted July 25, 2020 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    How many civil servants are employed on six figure salaries to go into a mad frenzy at the end of every year to find some country to offload the remaining .7% of GDP budget which hasn’t been used? Absolutely ridiculous and an insult to the hard pressed taxpayer. Foreign aid in it’s current form, giving money away, borrowed money at that, just for the sake of reaching some arbitrary target is unpopular and if our out of touch politicians don’t know that they should get out of their bubble more. Aid for natural disasters, yes, but this arbitrary target of .7% set in stone is absolute madness.

    • Mark B
      Posted July 26, 2020 at 5:49 am | Permalink

      They have created a rod for our own backs. And worst of it, they are rather pleased with themselves.

  30. Peter Hall
    Posted July 25, 2020 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Humanity makes its life within the natural environment. Nature is suffering accelerating destruction from global warming, pollution and biodiversity loss. A huge part of our international aid budget should be spent on fighting those problems. No environment equals no life.

    • Mark B
      Posted July 26, 2020 at 5:47 am | Permalink

      Sorry mate but I got as far as, “global warming” and stopped reading.

  31. BW
    Posted July 25, 2020 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    So we borrow record amounts and give it away. Its a bloody good job I don’t run the household accounts like that. I would be vilified as irresponsible.

    • Fred H
      Posted July 26, 2020 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

      your credit would run out…

  32. MickN
    Posted July 25, 2020 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    What we should do is allocate say 3 billion a year. This would buy warehouses full of blankets, medication, tents, food etc and pay the salaries of expert teams who can be sent at very short notice to anywhere in the world where a flood, earthquake or similar disaster has occurred. This will provide real help where needed and quickly. I would be more than happy with that. The problem is that the 0.7% figure gives those “allocating” these funds a huge amount of money to find a home for and that is why we are giving millions to countries that have space programs whilst our veterans are sleeping on the streets.

  33. ian
    Posted July 25, 2020 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    With 15 billion pounds a year I can build cities in Africa.

    • glen cullen
      Posted July 25, 2020 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

      Or buy a yacht and a villa in monte carlo….its all free money given by the stupid british

      • Fred H
        Posted July 26, 2020 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

        and still put £millions in a Swiss or off-shore bank account.

  34. ChrisS
    Posted July 25, 2020 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    As I posted yesterday, widening the scope of what counts as foreign aid would be a very useful move so that the cost to our military forces, who spend so much time on disaster relief and supporting third world countries could be paid for from the aid budget.

    We should also cash-limit our aid expenditure to the average percentage of GDP spent by, say, the average of the EU and the USA. It is just plain daft for the UK to be the only country spending 0.7% of GDP on aid when most years the government is struggling to spend such a vast sum.

    None of our aid should be given to outside organisations to spend on our behalf without direct supervision and a veto on exactly what the money is spent on. There would be a cost to employ the civil servants embedded in any organisation authorised to manage aid projects on our behalf, but the cost of this supervision should also come from the overall aid budget. This would be very cost-effective in reducing the vast amount of money currently being wasted.

    Aid schemes should also be tied to expenditure on UK-sourced equipment and project management and especially UK-manufactured goods. JCB machinery springs to mind as perfect example but not Land Rover vehicles whose manufacture has been transferred to
    Slovenia at the cost of British jobs. This would at least ensure that none of our aid money is spent on fleets of black Mercedes limousines !

  35. Mike Wilson
    Posted July 25, 2020 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    Why is the magic figure 0.7% of GDP? What has ‘GDP’ got to do with anything? Why isn’t it a percentage of the government’s tax take. Maybe saying it was a percentage of the tax take we expect OUR government to provide services for OUR people (like making sure OUR ex soldiers are not sleeping on OUR streets) would annoy people too much. Where DOES charity begin?

  36. mancunius
    Posted July 25, 2020 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    “it is important to be generous with grant money”
    No it is not. There are many taxpayers in this country whose freelancer income has plummeted since March, and who have not received a penny from the government. If you want to be ‘generous’ then start with them.

  37. steve
    Posted July 25, 2020 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Our country is in an abysmal financial mess for decades to come, thanks to DePfeffel.

    There can be no justification for foreign aid (including blackmail payments within the UK), HS2 etc. Besides, this country has done enough for others, many of which wouldn’t exist were it not for us.

    We need the money, time to stop giving it away.

    The only exception I would make is where water is needed, as water is a fundamental human right. Other than that, not a penny – we’ve done enough already.

  38. DavidJ
    Posted July 25, 2020 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Well past time to stop all foreign aid to countries such as China and India and probably a host of others where corruption is rife and those funds never reach the intended recipients.

    As for water and sewerage projects it would be far better to fund WaterAid which has the experience of our own water industry and overseas projects behind it.

    Much more benefit could result from establishing a proper Disaster Relief Fund as an alternative.

  39. Graham Wheatley
    Posted July 25, 2020 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Give a man a fish, feed him for the day.
    Teach a man to fish, feed him for life.

    We’ve been funding countries that have Armed Forces bigger & better equipped than our own, and others which have put satellites into orbit of not just this planet, but the Moon and Mars!

    It’s high time it stopped!

  40. lojolondon
    Posted July 25, 2020 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    Foreign aid is the transfer of money from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries. It should be completely halted forthwith. In the future, we should give freely (and very fast) when a natural disaster occurs, like volcano, earthquake, tidal wave, etc. No money should ever be allocated for ‘run-rate’ situations, like poor countries where the government chooses to spend money on jets, boats and flash cars rather than their own people. Spend the £12 Billion on British people, British problems, and the debt.

  41. matthu
    Posted July 25, 2020 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    How about spending some of our aid on building massive fish processing plants in this country (always assuming that the EU want to prevent us from exporting our fish to them)?

  42. acorn
    Posted July 25, 2020 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    I think we can assume that JR’s post today is a “Fiddle While Rome Burns” type post. Those citizens whose income is in the bottom three quintiles of UK income distribution, have no idea what the UK spends on overseas aid or why it spends it; they are much more concerned about directing aid into the domestic household economy.

    Proposing that the UK government needs to plan to balance the budget post virus; and post brexit, is just a recipe to reprise this decades disastrous Conservative neoliberal austerity into the next decade, multiplied by a factor of three at least. Remember, you voted for this.

    • a-tracy
      Posted July 26, 2020 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      Acorn, overseas aid does seem a little like Comic Relief, get the money off all the citizens whose income is in the bottom three quintiles of UK income distribution and claim all the credit for the comics, virtue signalling presenters and the person who thought of the idea at the top, that person then gets feted and rewarded with more projects and income from the State to reward their time spent on giving away other peoples hard earned money. The citizens in the bottom three quartiles have always relatively been much more generous both with their time and giving away a percentage of their income in charitable donations without the fanfare and individual recognition.

  43. David Brown
    Posted July 25, 2020 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    Sir JR You are on a roll with me as another comment has 100% agreement from me.
    India is a country of extremes wealth and poverty, in order to move right away from reliance on China Britain should be seeking to both increase home manufacture but also seek ways of Indian production that can finally remove a substantial number of Chinese goods from Britain. In turn no need to provide India with aid – provide it with opportunities.
    Off topic but related to economy, I attended my local gym today as I am a member of a national branded gym. As one who has years in front of me and not the greys who primarily comment here, exercise especially road cycling and gym work out is my fitness routine. Today I was very impressed at the level of protection and member compliance to the new rules in the gym. This triggered me thinking about obesity etc and sadly not enough people exercise and they eat junk food when in fact vegetables, salads and fruit is cheaper. I don’t take sugar in tea or coffee, drink pure fruit juice, no fat no sugar yogurt etc – the list is endless.
    Obesity harms the economy, NHS etc – personally I would ban all sugar (may be except jams) in sweets, chocolate, and foods. Some times nanny state has to intervene for the good of the whole. Ok this is an off subject comment but I feel relevant to the current discussions.

    • Posted July 25, 2020 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

      You need to eat fat. You liver will be damaged because no call for bile to digest the fat. You will get gall stones (calcification of unused bile) if they take your gall bladder out, you have lost the apparatus to deal with fat forever – that includes the fat in your own body.
      Accept that a grey old lady has learned something in 65 years.

      • David Brown
        Posted July 26, 2020 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

        Matron Thank you for your advise. I do have an annual health check that I pay for inc bloods and get a diet sheet, however your point is well made and noted

        • Fred H
          Posted July 26, 2020 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

          Another diet/health obsessive…

    • Posted July 25, 2020 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

      PS India has a middle class that outnumber the entire British population. It has the means to create its own opportunities.

  44. Dennis Zoff
    Posted July 25, 2020 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    “Stopping aid to countries with space programmes would be a good start. Seeking better value for money and better targeted assistance would be a good idea”

    John, this is not a liberal passive wish list, but an absolute obligation to the Taxpayers that fund it; not a Government’s Laissez-faire fiscal attitude! Your comment smacks of a City cigar filled conservative club…this is a real issue and the taxpayers desire concrete action not the oft trotted out political platitudes?

    I am sure you did not run successful businesses with such a loose managerial hand?

  45. John Hatfield
    Posted July 25, 2020 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    Poverty and shortages are created by over-population. Aid should be dependent upon birth control.

  46. glen cullen
    Posted July 25, 2020 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

    Each year the UK gives billions to the EU for official EU budget contributions and also for “off-budget” EU funds about which we have reported many times. Last year (2019) the UK gave $2.32 billion of this to the EU’s foreign aid programme – source facts4eu.org

  47. Dennis Zoff
    Posted July 26, 2020 at 12:39 am | Permalink

    John

    Off-piste

    Interesting reading your comments on FACTS4EU.

    3. Question: If the EU continue to be unreasonable in the trade talks, should we revoke the WA and walk? If so, when?

    I note you did not answer the WA part of the question, why? This is the biggest elephant in the room, but you chose not to comment on it?

    Will you challenge the Boris WA abomination if the EU remains intransigent? The shout of the 17.4+ million is “No Deal no Money”

    Reply We should legislate our freedom if the EU persists with efforts to control us.

    • Ted Martin
      Posted July 26, 2020 at 5:18 am | Permalink

      But Dennis the EU is very happy to agree a deal, the shape of it was agreed in the Political Declaration last year which was part of the ovenready deal. Sadly the UK is now refusing to honour that. The EU is playing fair, the UK is not

      • Dennis Zoff
        Posted July 26, 2020 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

        Ted

        Our opinions differ: I do not agree with you the EU is acting in good faith or fair.

        I did not personally agree to the WA or the Political Declaration and I am simply asking our kind host whether he supports the £37 Billion gift or not?

        John did not answer the original question from FACT4EU questionnaire Q3, so I am curious as to where he stands on this single point?

        Reply I wish to leave as soon as possible anD propose legislating for full independence if there is no deal and the EU tries it on. I was blocked by the last Parliament from securing early exit and early end to payments which I voted for.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted July 27, 2020 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

          The UK has left.

          • Edward2
            Posted July 27, 2020 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

            31st December 2020 we actually leave.
            You seem to understand legal niceties.
            So I don’t understand why you cannot grasp this important one.

        • Dennis Zoff
          Posted July 28, 2020 at 9:17 am | Permalink

          Thank you John

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted July 26, 2020 at 10:37 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply

      Where do you stand on this issue?….should the little matter of a hard earned £37+ Billion of taxpayers’ money “gift” contained within the WA be stopped immediately? A simple yes or no will suffice. Thank you.

      The divorce bill “The UK’s Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) set out detailed estimates of what the UK would pay in its Economic and Fiscal Outlook report. That set out a total bill of €41.4bn (£37.1bn), extending out to 2064 as pension liabilities fall due.

  48. Ian Wilson
    Posted July 26, 2020 at 4:43 am | Permalink

    Many people still lack electricity. Cooking over dung fires in huts does no good for life expectancy. I would be happy to see some money going to helping with reliable coal-powered electricity (not costly part-time renewables). The CO2 produced also helps food growth. If anyone shrieks that will make the planet roast, ask why ice ages occurred with CO2 level many times those of today.

  49. Posted July 26, 2020 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    I will be the first one to eat my hat if this bunch walk away from this nonsense, probably why we are not hearing anything from a certain T. Blair, he is totally sure his Remainers will win

  50. Oldsalt
    Posted July 26, 2020 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    Bob:
    Not to mention the TV licence burden on those least able to find the extra. Not easy, if indeed possible even if able, in your 80’s or 90’s to find work to pay for it. Another empty promise.

  51. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted July 26, 2020 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    It stands to reason that, if UK GDP declines by about 7% in a single year, then the foreign aid budget should be reduced by a similar percentage.

    Before I retired, I worked on foreign aid projects as a Team Leader on feasibility studies for major transport infrastructure projects. The policy of spending 0.7% of GDP on foreign aid led to high demand for the services of specialist expatriate experts such as railway engineers and environmental experts. Such people could more or less dictate the time windows in which they were available, regardless of any critical path planning that the Team Leader had undertaken. Coping with the consequences was stressful.

    The way these studies work is that there are also local experts who are mentored. The problem is that any local expert who is any good usually has a full time job already and often has to ‘moonlight’ to work on your project. This too is stressful.

    I don’t think any great harm would be done by lessening the demand for the services of these experts, e.g. by reducing the number of foreign aid projects.

  52. Posted July 27, 2020 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Stop giving money away .
    Trade only
    Help them help themselves
    Look after our own first start with those who have been in our Services, and are now washed up etc
    Let’s also send illegal migrants HOME, we can not afford more inferstruksher, overandabove immediate needs

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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