Letter: Should International Aid Budget be spent closer to home?

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While I don’t consider myself to be a philanthropist by any stretch of the imagination, I do believe in giving whatever I can afford to certain charities.

While I don’t consider myself to be a philanthropist by any stretch of the imagination, I do believe in giving whatever I can afford to certain charities.

However, I, like millions of UK taxpayers, via our International Aid Budget, also donate hundreds of pounds a year towards various charitable projects around the world.

The UK currently donates 0.7 per cent of its total GDP in International Aid – another legacy of David Cameron’s tenure in 10 Downing Street – which in 2016 was a whopping £13.4bn.

And as the economy expands, so does the International Aid Budget, making it the only Government Department whose budget has not been cut in real terms since austerity was first rolled out in 2010.

I’m not advocating that we should scrap the International Aid Budget.

But I do think it is time that we revisit what we are currently obligated to pay out every year, especially when there have been massive cuts in public expenditure to almost every other Government department, none more so than in local government.

This coming winter there aren’t even the funds available to put grit on our roads.

Rural bus subsidies have also been withdrawn, isolating whole communities in the process. Not everybody can drive, let alone afford a car.

We then have a police force, according to Channel 4’s Despatches, screening just what crimes they are going to respond to, because of the culling of more than 20,000 officers.

Our school buildings are virtually falling in on top of our children, yet we still send money each year to Pakistan, a country with its own nuclear weapons programme.

And China, the second biggest economy in the world, is even in receipt of some of our aid, not forgetting Nigeria, whose receipts from oil revenues for the first seven months of 2018 alone amounted to a massive $26bn.

Then we have some of the UK’s overseas territories which were totally devastated by a series of natural disasters that didn’t even get a single penny from the International Aid Budget.

Why? Because they didn’t meet the criteria.

It’s about time that we started to look after our own future and well being.

And we can start to do that by spending some of the money in the International Aid Budget on projects that are a little bit nearer to home.

Ivan Humphrey, Kettering