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Cuts to the foreign aid budget.

(148 Posts)
Pammie1 Tue 08-Jun-21 11:37:27

Is it unreasonable of the government to cut the foreign aid budget ? I’m in two minds because of the effect it will have but at a time of record peacetime debt, can we afford to go even deeper into it in order to support other countries ? A government minister (I forget who) was quoted as saying that we need to protect UK citizens as well as poorer countries, but I’m not convinced that the money ‘saved’ would actually be spent addressing any of the issues we face in the UK.

MaizieD Sat 12-Jun-21 10:49:42

It is really strange, in my NE area, not many immigrants doing Professional manual jobs, eg electricians , builders, plumbers,

@ Lin I know that the discussion has moved on since this, and that the point I want to make is a bit tangential, but I would like to point out that in the NE we have one of the lowest %ages of immigrants in the UK. So you're not likely to come across them as a matter of course in any type of job.

M0nica Sun 13-Jun-21 07:55:15

susysue there have been several cases of countries we have aided offering us help when we had disasters. I have tried gooling but it only brings up us helping other countries, but an example I seem to remember was a community in Nepal offering some help to flooded areas in the UK as thanks for help they received after devastating floods.

There have been a number of gestures like this over the years, unfortunately very difficult to quote chapter and verse, and I am unable to remember detail. The only one I can detail happened a century ago but does illustrate what ahs happened more recently is the tale of the Maharajah's Well, which, is local to me and which I have visited.

Perhaps other people can remember and/or document other examples of such help.

Saetana Mon 14-Jun-21 00:46:11

There are only two ways that countries can be lifted out of poverty and deprivation - one is for the people to rise up and demand change, the other is to allow colonialism (which is a dirty word in the 21st century). I guarantee the citizens of some countries would love for a western democracy to take them over and make things better - as we did for most of our colonies in the past. There are no easy answers to these issues - we have been pouring money into some countries for decades but have seen very little change for our investment. I think the headline amount of money is irrelevant - we should try to spend what money we do donate in better ways. There is far too much money going astray in certain countries, and we are sending money to countries where it is really not necessary. I think of Band Aid back in the 80s - how much in Ethiopia has really changed since then? Money may seem an easy answer, and salve a few Western consciences, but we need to find better ways to lift people and countries out of poverty.

vegansrock Mon 14-Jun-21 04:40:46

Saetana Where did you get the idea from that Western countries created colonies for altruistic reasons to help the indigenous people? They colonised other countries to enrich themselves. In many cases inhabitants of former colonies were raped, murdered or enslaved by their colonial masters. I don’t think any countries would be crying out for this treatment again.

foxie48 Mon 14-Jun-21 09:28:22

Saetana the five countiries that receive the most bilateral (country to country not via an NGO or other charity) are Pakistan, Ethiopia, Afganistan, Yemen and Nigeria. All of these countries have been colonised at some point and some for very long periods of time. I doubt they would wish to be colonised again. Foreign aid is used to monitor elections to try to ensure that they are fair which is a better way of helping them progress. Sadly, so many countries have civil wars when the people rise up, this results in them needing Foreign aid to deal with the aftermath, people killing each other generally leads to a transient population rather than one which is growing food and building an infrastructure. Yes, some foreign aid does end up in the Swiss bank accounts of corrupt people but it also ends up in the stomachs of starving people.

varian Mon 14-Jun-21 19:29:06

We need to think about the starving people and demand that our government reinstates the 0.7% of GDP to international aid.

M0nica Wed 16-Jun-21 17:33:02

All empires from the Chinese onwards have done it to boost their territories and wealth. Little and large we have probably seen 100 or more empires rise and fall in the last 4,000 years, it is what all of them have done. It what empires are all about.

Colonisation is happening today, as I type, only it is economic colonisation. China is buying into big western economies like ours and investing enormous sums in countries in Africa and the Middle East. Why are they doing this? In order to hold these countries to ransom so that when China needs or wants to do something, China gets what it wants.

There is nothing especially wicked about Western colonisation. Anyone fancy being a Uighur Muslim? or do you remember when the Chinese invaded and colonised Tibet. This country has been beaten into submission, so we do not hear about it much now.

PippaZ Wed 16-Jun-21 18:06:40

I think it's just madness - there is no logic to us and they have lied yet again. Taking the last one first parties are expected to keep manifesto promises and they promised to maintain it at 0.7% of GDP - so why would they break that promise.

Secondly, they seem to think our GDP will be lower but the whole point of a percentage is that it goes up and down according to our GDP so this has already been allowed for.

And finally, I find it quite wicked - rather like snatching the food out of a child's mouth when you already have enough to eat.

love0c Wed 16-Jun-21 18:09:32

Difficult decision. I was always taught your outgoings should always equal your incomings. If your outgoings are more I was told you have to cut back.

Alegrias1 Wed 16-Jun-21 18:35:21

Savings from this aid cut £4bn.

Cost of HS2, £80bn

Cost of replacing Trident, £205bn

2 new aircraft carriers, that we don't have any aircraft for, £6bn

It's a choice. We've chosen to break our word and not worry about people dying.

Mollygo Thu 17-Jun-21 11:08:21

I agreed right back at the start that the aid shouldn’t have been cut. Like others, I wonder exactly who benefits from the money and what is done with it.
However, as soon as you mention costs of those other things (which I’m not altogether convinced we need either,) you start involving people’s jobs, money to live on, food to eat, housing etc.
If the people working on these jobs, didn’t have employment, there would be a greater need for more financial aid here.
Instead, let’s say what should we be producing to give these workers jobs?

Petera Thu 17-Jun-21 11:20:45


Savings from this aid cut £4bn.

Cost of HS2, £80bn

Cost of replacing Trident, £205bn

2 new aircraft carriers, that we don't have any aircraft for, £6bn

It's a choice. We've chosen to break our word and not worry about people dying.

Test and trace makes the aircraft carriers look like a bargain...

GillT57 Thu 17-Jun-21 11:37:09

Even if just looked at as a balance sheet and ignoring the human cost, the above is a disgrace.

PippaZ Thu 17-Jun-21 11:58:26


Difficult decision. I was always taught your outgoings should always equal your incomings. If your outgoings are more I was told you have to cut back.

But you are a person or household. Countries do not work in the same way.

PippaZ Thu 17-Jun-21 11:59:27


Savings from this aid cut £4bn.

Cost of HS2, £80bn

Cost of replacing Trident, £205bn

2 new aircraft carriers, that we don't have any aircraft for, £6bn

It's a choice. We've chosen to break our word and not worry about people dying.

Good post Alegrais

love0c Thu 17-Jun-21 13:11:10

I agree it is 'choice' as to how a person or indeed country spends their money. A scenario- hospitals badly need money, education system badly needs money, the roads are in a terrible state of repair, social care is is desperate need of money, child poverty is soaring, families losing their homes, NHs waiting list getting longer, help needed in other countries, and a pandemic. What do we do? Work hard? Try to save to pay for everything? Invest in ourselves? No! we shut the country down and get ourselves into huge debt. Yes it is choice. Our government clearly made the wrong choice!

Alegrias1 Thu 17-Jun-21 13:34:23

The point behind my post is that we are making this puny cutback because it's popular with the masses while we squander money left, right and centre on vanity projects for the government and things we don't need.

Chewbacca Thu 17-Jun-21 13:56:15

Following the 2014 tsunamis in the Indian Ocean, a total of $6.25 billion was donated globally. Of that, the UK contributed $137 million. It was spent as follows:

Economic recovery and infrastructure $105 million
Food $229 million
Multi sector $41 million
Protection, human rights & rule of law $41 million
Agriculture $41 million
Education $115 million
Shelter and non food items $187
Water and sanitation $187 million
Health $174 million
Safety, security staff and operations $2 million
Co ordination and support services $195 million
Unknown $515 million

Source: The Guardian

Should we have contributed? Undoubtedly.

varian Thu 17-Jun-21 13:56:45

Why is it popular with the masses?-

Could it be because the right wing press have been telling their readers for years and years that-

"charity begins at home - there are people in this country who need it more", and "foreign aid all goes to corrupt dictators", and "we've been sending them money for years and they still can't stand on their own feet" and "it's so easy for them to put their hands out rather than do a day's work" and "it's not about throwing money at the problem", and "it's only the bleeding heart liberals that want to give away our money, just virtue signalling" etc, etc.

GillT57 Thu 17-Jun-21 14:57:17

I agree with you love0c about the dreadful state of housing, shortages in education, NHS, pot holes etc., etc., nobody can deny the situation. The state of our public services is down to years of lack of investment, of cutting spending, of austerity, all of which is policy and deliberate and has nothing at all to do with covid19. Covid19 did not cause the dreadful housing that some people have been enduring for years, covid19 did not cause the cuts ot education funding, covid19 has shown up the effects of the cuts to NHS funding. Does anybody really honestly believe that the money 'saved' on Foreign Aid will be spent on making people's lives better here in UK? That some of the millions not spent on lifesaving medicines in the third world will be spent on tearing down disgusting, damp, infested housing here in the UK and building clean, healthy homes for working people to raise their families? Covid19 has caused problems of that there is no doubt, but most of them were highlighted by it, not caused by it.

love0c Thu 17-Jun-21 15:49:09

GillT57 Exactly. These problems existed before covid but now astronomically worse. The covid lost money could have made this country the best it has ever been!

varian Thu 17-Jun-21 19:00:53

The money wasted on test and trace which has not worked, and the money wasted on brexit, which has been so disastrous, could have made this country so much better, fairer and decent - if only we had had a government that actually cared.