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Montevideo, February 21st 2018 - 20:46 UTC

UK to reorient aid to developing countries that “put their hands in their pockets”

Tuesday, January 16th 2018 - 10:01 UTC
Full article 31 comments
The UK government is committed to spending 0.7% of national income on overseas aid and currently spends £13bn each year. The UK government is committed to spending 0.7% of national income on overseas aid and currently spends £13bn each year.

The UK could cut its aid to developing countries that fail to invest in their own people, the international development secretary has said. Penny Mordant told the Daily Telegraph she “won't invest” when others should put “their hands in their pockets”.

 The UK government is committed to spending 0.7% of national income on overseas aid and currently spends £13bn each year. Ms Mordaunt said she wanted governments of developing countries to “step up and take responsibility”.

“If it chooses not to, that will inform our decisions around our funding,” she added.

“We will continue to prioritize investments in saving lives, tackling under-nutrition, improving health and getting kids a quality education. But our focus will increasingly be on helping developing countries stand on their own feet and build sustainable health and education systems that they invest in themselves.”

Under legislation approved in 2015, the UK government is legally required to spend 0.7% of gross national income on foreign aid. The UK first met the target on a voluntary basis in 2013, before it was made a legal requirement - although the level of spending has long had its critics in Parliament and the press.

Ms Mordaunt, who replaced Priti Patel as international development secretary in November, backs the 0.7% target but says the public have “legitimate” concerns about the budget. She said: “What they question is the weight and resource given to this task by their parliament and their government, especially when there are domestic needs and a national debt to address.”

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today program, Ms Mordaunt said the UK needs to invest money into “trying to head off problems that will be a difficulty for us in the future”, such as pandemics. She added: “The bar we need to set on aid spending is not just 'are we spending this money well' but could we spend it better in the national interest.”

Her comments come two weeks after Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said the UK's aid budget will be shifted to projects that promote its interests. He said the money will be “more sensibly distributed” to support foreign policy aims such as denying safe havens to Islamist militants.

Categories: Economy, International.

Top Comments

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  • Clyde15

    Well it would be nice to think that it could go to the people instead of their rulers who syphon it off to buy fleets of Mercedes and private jets.

    Jan 16th, 2018 - 03:59 pm +2
  • DemonTree

    I wasn't complaining. Personally I don't care, but I suppose for the people who do it's the principle of the thing. And yeah, it says Argentina is no longer eligible since 2014, although it can still participate in regional and thematic programs, whatever those are.

    Does Argentina give aid?

    Jan 18th, 2018 - 11:57 pm +2
  • Clyde15

    ..JanH alias thicko

    I have had to explain this to you already under your various Troll names.

    under the top heading there is an item headed “regions”. Under this we have a sub heading for “International”. This covers all other regions in the world. Strangely enough we have given aid to Argentina. Does this answer your question !

    Jan 17th, 2018 - 10:29 am +1
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