Geldof launches into Britain's 'pathetic' overseas aid budget

Sir Bob Geldof has attacked Tony Blair's commitment to the Third World as "guff and grandiose" and condemned Britain's "pathetic" contributions to stem global poverty.

Sir Bob Geldof has attacked Tony Blair's commitment to the Third World as "guff and grandiose" and condemned Britain's "pathetic" contributions to stem global poverty.

The Live Aid founder criticised Britain's position of 11th in the international league of aid donors and called for Britain to set a clear timetable to moving to spending 0.7 per cent of national income on overseas development. He said: "What Gordon Brown proposes is totally inadequate. Gordon wrestles Jesuitically with this imponderable conundrum of who should get a little bit more. Well, I don't think we have to argue any more. I am sick of sitting with Tony and Gordon and hearing guff about scars on the face of the world. I am sick of the grandiose schemes.

"If you really want to get rid of the scars and you want the Commission for Africa to have credibility, if you want to get
to next year without me and
the activists and the churches screaming at you about this lot, then the minimum you do is you take the fourth richest country in the world and you measure it against its pathetic ranking as the 11th most generous. All this appears incredibly simple and it is as simple as that."

Sir Bob was speaking at Westminster yesterday at the launch of a campaign to persuade Mr Brown to increase spending on overseas aid to 0.5 per cent of GDP in his three-year spending review next month. The campaigners want ministers to commit themselves to increasing spending on aid to the United Nations target of 0.7 per cent of GDP by 2011.

Mr Brown has drawn
up an action plan for the United Kingdom presidency of the G8 group of rich nations next year, calling on countries who have yet to commit 0.7 per cent to aid to "move further and faster to higher aid levels and on towards that target". But the Government has yet to reach that level or set a date. The Government spends 0.34 per cent of GDP on aid and aims to raise that to 0.4 per cent by 2006.

Sir Bob, who was joined by MPs, trade unionists and religious leaders in his appeal yesterday, questioned the Prime Minister's commitment to tackling hunger and disease and demanded he immediately "puts our money where his mouth is".

The Labour MP Julia Drown will hold talks with Mr Blair to press the case. She said the proposed increase in aid would "save millions of lives".

Dr Kenneth Stevenson, the Bishop of Portsmouth, said he was embarrassed by the UK's poor ranking. "We should move to being nearer where we should be because we can afford it," he said.

Frances O'Grady, of the TUC, said the trade union movement was behind the campaign. "We hope Labour will put its money where its mouth is," she said.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "By 2006 we will have committed £1bn to aid, an increase in aid since 1997 of 97 per cent in real terms."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Junior Web Developer - Kent - £40,000

£30000 - £40000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Junior Web Developer - ne...

Recruitment Genius: Production Team Leader / Chargehand

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a Chargehand to join ...

Ashdown Group: Client Services Manager - Relationship Management - London

£30000 - £32000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Recruitment Genius: Credit Controller / Customer Service

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding business...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project