by Kevan StaffordThe Daily Express is to be congratulated for starting a petition addressed to the government to “end Britain’s foreign aid spending madness that sees billions of pounds sent overseas”. The newspaper has launched a ‘Stop The foreign Aid Madness’ crusade.
Prime Minister Theresa May, like her Tory predecessor David Cameron, is committing British taxpayers to spend 0.7% of the country’s gross national income on overseas aid, amounting to £13.3 billion last year, on projects around the world – whether taxpayers agree to such generous expenditure or not. And this at a time when our country is struggling to pay for our own essential health and social care, particularly for the elderly. Charity is recommended to begin at home. When we ourselves are comfortable and well provided for is a time to possibly feel generous to complete strangers. Britain’s contribution amounts to one seventh of total foreign aid and we donate twice as much as France.
Our wonderfully generous prime Minister (generous with other people’s money that is) has guaranteed foreign expenditure free from the cuts which she is happy to impose on other essential spending here at home. Whilst it is true that the United States, with a larger economy, donates more in foreign aid at £25 billion per year, that sum represents only 0.18% of their national income compared to our 0.7%.
The main countries which benefit from our largess are Pakistan, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Syria, but also China and India which manage to afford their own space programmes and nuclear weapons. Britain scarcely checks on the effectiveness of its spending and much of the money is misspent and wasted. The anonymous mandarins in our Department of International Development maintain that:
“Global challenges like mass immigration, disease, terrorism and conflict have no respect for national borders. If we stand back from this fight we are not only abandoning our global responsibilities, we are allowing other countries’ problems to come closer to our shores”. This spurious argument was used to justify British attacks on insurgents in their own countries, when such attacks actually provoke terrorism here in Britain. We invite millions of young men from the third world into our country, bomb their relatives back home, then wonder why they hate us and attack us – mass immigration destroys social cohesion and conservation and is entirely misconceived and should be reversed.
We need to make foreign aid contributions voluntary, so that well-meaning but misguided left-wing Samaritans can waste their own cash and permit the rest of us to contribute to projects at home or to spend on our own families. The proposed solution is not ideal because some British money would still be sent abroad rather than being spent within the British economy. Helping finance the digging of water wells and toilets for people in far flung parts of the world infantilises them when, left to their own devices, they would be more likely to develop the admirable quality of self-sufficiency. We could instead provide friendly advice or repayable loans. It took us decades to repay American loans to fight the unnecessary World War II against Germany, which President Roosevelt was so keen for us to declare.