Reply on aid to India

A number of people have written to me saying that as India has said it no longer wants overseas aid from us, and as it is now a substantial power with a growing economy, we should discontinue our aid programme. I have received the following letter from the Secretary of State confirming that action has been taken to end official aid programmes:

“As you will know, in November 2012, I announced that the UK would end its programme of financial grant aid to India by the end of 2015. Our new development partnership would instead be based on technical assistance programmes, focused on sharing skills and expertise; and investments in private sector projects focused on helping the poor.

I am writing to update you on progress as we enter the final year of this transition which is well underway. No new financial grant aid to Government budgets has been approved since 2012, and we have been responsibly winding down our existing financial grant aid programmes. All financial grant aid to Government will finish by the end of 2015. The UK can be rightly proud of what we have achieved in recent years – for example, by 2015 we will have reached 3.6 million pregnant women and children under five with nutrition programmes, given access to improved sanitation to almost 2 million people, provided access to finance to over 3 million poor women and provided clean energy to 600,000 people.

After 2015, our development partnership will focus exclusively on technical assistance and investing in private sector pro-poor projects which have the potential for both development and commercial returns. As I set out in 2012, this strategy is based on a rigorous analysis of the drivers of inclusive growth and economic development in India. All technical assistance will be transformational, based on the best of what the UK has to offer, and contribute to wider UK-India bilateral and prosperity priorities. Programmes will also make use of returnable capital to unlock and demonstrate the potential of private sector led growth.

This new partnership will draw on skills and experience across the Government and UK institutions, working with UK Trade and Investment, the Department for Energy and Climate Change, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, HM Treasury, HM Revenue and Customs, and the Departments for Business Innovation & Skills, Education and Health.

India is an increasingly important partner for the UK and a central player on issues like climate, trade and global economic stability and security. The transition I announced in 2012 has set us well on the way to a modern development partnership for the 21st Century, moving us away from a donor-recipient relationship to a strategic partnership of equals based on policy cooperation, investment and trade.



  1. lojolondon
    February 28, 2015

    Dear John, unfortunately ‘overseas aid’ is well known as the best way of transferring money from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries. Very little aid gets through to the people who need it, when it does, it takes the form of fish instead of fishing rods, and the vast majority is siphoned off by those in power or used for weapons to protect despots etc.

    A special case to mention is Argentina – by far one of the best examples of how misguided this whole enterprise is, Argentina takes British aid and accetps loans from Britain, yet continues to dispute British territorial rights, refuses to repay interest or capital on the ‘loans’ they have received, and vilifies Britain at every opportunity. I cannot imagine any way that sending British taxpayers money here is in any way justified.

    Lastly, and most importantly, as long as we are living beyond our means and on borrowing money, there is no justification for sending any money overseas under any conditions.

    The UKIP policy of entirely cancelling all overseas aid until the deficit is repaid is absolutely common sense (almost Thatcher-esque) and should without doubt be adopted by all the parties.

  2. DaveM
    February 28, 2015

    This is the thing, Mr R.

    We have a fundamental right to defend ourselves, our laws and our way of life.

    Paying taxes is a deal. We do lots of work to keep us alive and to make our lives better. We give taxes to the government on the understanding that they use those taxes to make our lives better, defend us, enforce our laws etc. We don’t give the money for the govt to give it away to other countries and to a European body which takes away our ability to enforce border controls and undermines our lawkeepers via the ECHR.

    We – for the most part – like our continental neighbours and would happily work with them in defence of their freedom and maintenance of their prosperity. But we want to do it on our terms.

    People in the UK are generous and empathetic. If you appealed for funds on behalf of people in the third world you would probably raise enough to make a genuine difference. There is – as far as I’m aware – no written regulation on what taxes our spent on. But surely it is an understanding based on common sense and honourable intentions.

    What grates is the fact that our hard-earned is being spent on shady deals that benefit a very few rich people. When are we going to return to human values and honesty?

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