Saturday, 10 April 2010

The Greatest DFID Give Away

click to enlarge

Did you too have to read the heading twice on the above press release? 'UK aid hits 45 year high'.

While the country struggles with the worst recession since the 30s, Douglas Alexander's department, DFID, boasts the UK spent 0.52% of Gross National Income on overseas aid in 2009 - the highest proportion since 1964.

We are one of the few G8 countries on course to meet its 2005 Gleneagles commitment of 0.7%.

Official Development Assistance reached £7,365 million in 2009 which is an increase of more than £1 billion on the previous year's figure.

A draft bill is currently before Parliament which would place a legal duty on the International Development Secretary to ensure that the UK spends 0.7% of GNI on overseas aid from 2013.

Douglas Alexander said: "People across the UK can be proud that this country is leading the world in the fight against global poverty."

I'm certainly not proud. Until the people of this country get a first class healthcare system, a top quality education system and our elderly receive a pension with which they can support themselves without having to beg for taxpayers' money, then overseas aid should be reduced. Of course there's also the small matter of government debt. Why are we giving away money when we're paying millions, in interest alone, on government loans? It's doesn't make economic sense yet it continues to go on.

No doubt we fund some excellent projects overseas but millions is spent on propaganda, funding charities such as Oxfam and giving bilateral aid to countries such as India. DFID needs to stop acting like a charity for the world and we need to start asking where the money really goes.


Ruth said...

In my opinion, charity begins at home. When we can afford cancer drugs for all our citizens, when all OAPs have a non-means tested livable pension (because they've paid for one), when we've got full or nearly full employment, when kiddies are leaving education able to read, write, add up & reason (i.e. read or hear something & be able to understand the implications & be able to decide whether it's a good thing or not), when everyone here in the UK has a reasonable standard of living including a suitable roof over their head, THEN it's time to think about giving our money away to less fortunate countries (though, after 13 years of Labour it might be difficult to find one).
Meanwhile, there's nothing stopping people who wish to contribute to the well-being of other countries doing so with their own money BUT NOT WITH OURS!

subrosa said...

I agree entirely Ruth and it's shameful, when we're paying millions a week on the interest of our loans, that money is pouring out of the Treasury to fund other countries.

At the rate our own education systems are going many of these other countries will be better educated that us.

Oldrightie said...

He's angling for a UN salary, methinks.

Sophia Pangloss said...

Methinks folk sometimes forget how easy life is in Scotland these days. When maist o' oor kids have that much money they cannae decide which new phone tae buy, when they buy a new blouse jist cause a button's come oaf their auld yin, when they eat cannae boil a tattie for their tea but would raither buy a McDonalds.

Really, naebody's dyin' o' poverty in oor country any mair, nae weans are runnin' barefoot, naebody's gettin' burned oot o' their hooses by men wi' machetes.

We're gettin' humphy ower 0.7% o' oor hoosekeepin' gaun tae puir weans in Africa? Then we're a hard-hearted bunch awright.

subrosa said...

Alexander? Wouldn't surprise me. He's never had a job where he's had to earn a salary through his own hard work.

subrosa said...

Ah Sophie, the superficialities of life.

Nobody dying of poverty? Tell that to the relatives of many of our elderly who die each year because the can't afford to eat or heat. Yes, they can beg from government but many are too humiliated to do so.

Tell that to those who are denied medications which could save/extend their lives.

Tell it to those who have to wait months to see medical specialists even though they are extremely ill. (We have the worst record in Europe for this).

What housekeeping? We've nae money! We're borrowing money to give it to other countries to spend, then we're paying the interest.

The fact that youngsters can't cook a basic meal shows how poor the education system has become.

As for the poor bairns in Africa. If I thought for a minute all our aid went to the people who really needed it, I'd be supporting it to the hilt. It doesn't. Various commentators say only 5-25% of aid reaches the needy. The rest is stolen by those in power.

No I'm not hard hearted, but I know we can't afford to be borrowing and playing the largesse game. Also these 'projects' need some serious scrutiny. It's impossible to get any kind of detailed evaluation of any one of them.

Scots are generally kind and would give to each other in cases of need but we haven't seen the impact of this 'global financial crisis' yet. It'll kick in shortly. The first to suffer will be those who have saved all their lives and now receive pennies in interest, when they planned to have a small income from the interest. Many are now using the capital. Once that runs out that's when trouble will begin.

Include those who take early retirement or are made redundant and there will be a big drop in the standard of living for them.

The only people who will see no change are those on long term benefits.

Dark Lochnagar said...

The whole thing is nothing short of a national disgrace. I'm scunnert. We have coffin dodgers sitting at a one bar electric fire trying to get some heat while they push the mushy peas through their dentures. Half of these people the money is supposedly going to, if it gets past their corrupt leaders, live in hot countries where they don't need any heating anyway. Their only problems are if the maize has grown and how many mosquito bites they're getting. A bloody disgrace. If they don't know what life can give them they won't miss it. Look after our own coffin dodgers first, I say!

subrosa said...

You're just trying to get on my good side DL. ;) You've succeeded. :)

Joe Public said...

It's always someone else's money they want to give away.

Demetrius said...

Worry not! Most, indeed almost all of this "aid" will finish up with money men backwashing it into one tax haven or another. There it will provide the funds for those companies with whom our political masters are closely connected and from whom they have profited so greatly. So a lot will return. The ever so slight issue I have is that I will doing the paying out but the politicians will be eventually getting the "aid".

subrosa said...

True Joe, then again it's 'only' taxpayers' money.

subrosa said...

Most certainly Demetrius. It is all going round a close circle. The problem is we can do little about it.

Alan G said...

If your only argument about aid is that it goes overseas you miss the point that it is tied to privatisation deals and is generally loans where the UK gets back more than it loans out. If your argument against it is purely monetary gain for the UK state then it is a fatally flawed argument. See for example

Billy said...

How correct you are Subrosa re Sophie and the debt!

I have this argument regularly with people, especially pensioners, who think that they have done well out of Labour being in power and how they intend to vote for them for that reason.

They don't get it with regard to the debt. They know the country is bankrupt but they cannot associate it with Labour spending money they did not have and are spending even more that they are printing out of fresh air and that they, and everyone else, is going to be even worst off trying to sort this out even if Labour manage to get back in.

The present model of capitalism is on it's way out. The world cannot continue with a keep producing new tat, with the resultant waste, and debt economy. Things are going to get even worst - look at the price of petrol just now and it is only five years before demand is going to excede supply.

subrosa said...

No Alan, that's certainly not my only argument. I have previously argued about where the money goes and the lack of transparency. It's nigh on impossible for an individual, unless they have spectacular IT talents, to follow the money.

Thanks for the links. Much appreciated.

subrosa said...

Billy, unless people have bills which are impossibly to pay and food which is too expensive to buy, then some won't realise we're bankrupt.

Some people have no concept that you can't survive on a loan and the UK has a massive loan. It will take some time, as you say, for this to filter through but it will.

The high utility bills will be blamed on the search for renewables and the food bills be blamed on the fact that we don't have enough farmers because they can't be bothered.

Both lies of course, but for those who don't want to look at the situation, lies which will be accepted.

Few of the younger generation have the ability to question anything these days. They accept what's told to them. This is our modern education and is proving to be part of the destruction of the UK.

Simon Fawthrop said...

And don't forget we give aid to India whilst they invest in nukes and a space program.

But worst of all we put import tariffs on a lot of countries thanks to our membership of the EU. Trade would do far more to help build their economies and relieve poverty and also be a benefit to us.

subrosa said...

Yes Simon, that's why I mentioned India.

The import tariffs - have you heard if the tories will do anything about them? I haven't.

Things won't change.

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