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Britain's Defence Costs v International Aid et al

(17 Posts)
CelticRose Thu 12-Mar-15 10:12:47

I noted on this morning's news that France (a country in recession) is now the new "wingman" for America as they are better equipped both in warships and fighter planes. Apparently, we have no warships and only four fighter planes - due to defence cuts started by the previous Government. Do we really need any more? Will the new, combined Euro Military Defence suffice to protect all EU countries? Given also that there are people in Britain who are still living below a poverty line, should we not reduce International Aid and look after our own first? We now have a stronger economy post-Labour government with some of the former debts and loans incurred by them now paid back. Does anyone know what the fiscal policy of France is? Comparing the size and population of the two countries, does anyone know if people in France live below the poverty line?

soontobe Thu 12-Mar-15 15:41:30

I dont know what I think anymore about all of this.

I do know that I had a look around an airforce base last year, and the amount of sums involved to keep it going was mind blowing.

But on the other hand, I feel uneasy about letting our defence get too low. That doesnt seem right either.

You have included a lot of points in your post though. Especially the International Aid bit, which may be better talked about on a different thread?

Greyduster Thu 12-Mar-15 17:57:51

I am ashamed of the way this country is becoming the "also ran" on the international stage, and the fact that our armed forces, which was second to none and the yardstick by which others were measured, is now a pale imitation of what it should be, at a time when the world is becoming a very dangerous place. We don't have Nimrod any longer to keep an eye on the increasingly dodgy goings on in our home waters; if we yet have the new aircraft carriers, there will be no planes to put on them, and it looks like our standing Army will be around 50,000 by the time they have finished chopping it. No wonder the Americans are getting disillusioned with us and want the French (dear God!) as their new best friends. I am afraid I am unashamedly NOT in favour of either increasing foreign aid, much of which ends up being squandered, or even leaving it at the level it is now, at the expense of defence spending. It is about time the government woke up and smelled the coffee! Sorry for the rant - feel very strongly.

Ariadne Thu 12-Mar-15 18:02:11

Why should it be on a different thread? CelticRose is making comparisons about how our money is spent, and we do give a lot of international aid. Which, I hasten to add, I think is essential, we may have people living below what we consider to be a poverty line, but we have no conception of what real poverty means.

A child dies every 10 seconds from hunger alone, somewhere in the world. The statistics are similar for those dying of preventable diseases, often borne from lack of sanitation or clean water. When we had a project in Burkina Faso, the average adult lived to about 45. That is poverty.

soontobe Thu 12-Mar-15 18:12:22

So is CelticRose suggesting that we decrease InternationalAid and put the money to defence instead?

I didnt think that Governments worked their budgets like that?

soontobe Thu 12-Mar-15 18:13:35

I think that our defence budget is probably a bit too low now.

Greyduster Thu 12-Mar-15 19:09:21

I appreciate that there are countries which have grinding poverty and they should receive some help from us, especially those in some of the African countries, but why are we giving £293 million to India which spends money on a space programme, a nuclear deterrent, and has an economy which seems set to overtake our own? It also has people living in the direst poverty, which it's government seems unable or unwilling to do anything about. We also give £3 million to China and I'm not convinced they need it either!

durhamjen Thu 12-Mar-15 19:22:11

International Aid is 0.7% of GDP. That is not a lot from the 6th richest country in the world.
Personally, in the war on how great our forces are I do not mind at all if France is better than the UK. The US is quite welcome to take all its forces and armaments out of the UK and station them in France. I will feel safer.

durhamjen Thu 12-Mar-15 19:25:31

Greyduster, we also have people living in the direst poverty, and our present government wishes to make their plight worse if it remains in government. However, I do not wish to take money away from India or China.

India may be spending money on a nuclear deterrent, but so are we. Not replacing Trident will more than make up for it.

Eloethan Thu 12-Mar-15 22:57:24

I don't think India gets aid from us any more - or at least we're due to stop giving aid.

India may be a very wealthy country but the majority of ordinary people live in severe poverty and the money was to help those people.

Britain is one of the richest countries in the world but Save the Children launched a campaign in 2012 to raise 500,000 to help disadvantaged children here.

magpie123 Fri 13-Mar-15 09:45:32

greyduster I totally agree with your posts, well said.

Ariadne Fri 13-Mar-15 10:03:56

If the poorest suffer under governments which ignore them, should we not continue to try to alleviate their suffering? I repeat, we do not know what real poverty is.

To look after our fellow humans is the least we can do.

However, I am often concerned that the money given by our government may very well not reach those who need it. With Rotary International, (there are 2 million of us) aid is given via the local clubs - say from us, working with a club or District in, say, Uganda. That way any money goes straight to source.

soontobe Fri 13-Mar-15 13:52:42

That is the best way of doing it Ariadne. Our church did it the same way.

The trouble with running down defence, is that it takes a long time to ramp things up again.

thatbags Fri 13-Mar-15 19:22:32 As ariadne says, we do not know what real poverty is. We don't see kids in ragged clothes like this any more here. It's not clear from the picture whether the child is wearing shoes. My father, born in 1928, went to school with kids who had no shoes.

absent Fri 13-Mar-15 19:36:56

Perhaps defence spending wouldn't reach such gargantuan proportions if it was reserved for defence instead of the country embarking on absurd and ill-fated offence, such as invading Iraq.

CelticRose Tue 24-Mar-15 11:45:04

I was actually referring to poverty in UK. Surely, if we eradicate it here then we can look at, say, third world rescue. As reported on Sky News this morning - poverty is defined as having no food, no clothes, no roof or home, no access to drinking water, no sanitation. So why do we have so many charities supporting people affected by a lack of basic living conditions if this is not a problem in UK? Why have food and clothes banks? Speaking of charities; I remember when Denis Healey was Chancellor in the mid-70s. He was at Conference - well oiled and with a large G&T in his hand - and stated that whilst people gave money to charities, he was not taxing enough. Tax at this time was 33% to pay back the interest under Labour borrowings. I was earning £21 a week as a shorthand typist. (I cannot remember what NI was at this time.) And it looks as though we will now be following the US into the Ukraine! Perhaps all the ex-forces sleeping rough on the streets of this country will once again find employment.

thatbags Thu 26-Mar-15 08:44:16

According to some sources, such as this compiled by Max Roser, world poverty is decreasing.

I want to support work, and politics, to reduce poverty both here and abroad.