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UK Politics

Gives overseas aid to MoD and BBC, says think-tank


A third of the money the Government spends on overseas aid should be diverted to the military budget so that Britain’s armed forces can respond better to natural catastrophes like earthquakes and tsunamis, a right-wing policy institute argues.

A book, published today by the independently funded think tank Civitas, calls for the Department for International Development to be abolished. It also claims that the public school backgrounds of David Cameron and other leading ministers are part of the reason that aid is allegedly wasted on projects overseas, from which the main beneficiaries are corrupt politicians. There are causes at home with a better claim to the cash, it argues.

The writer, Jonathan Foreman, a noted foreign correspondent, alleges that money poured into relieving hunger in a country such as Zimbabwe helps prop up the dictatorship responsible for impoverishing the country.

He advocates that the Government should abandon the target of spending 0.7 per cent of the country Gross Domestic Product on overseas aid, which he sees as a political move to help the Tory Party rid itself of its “nasty party” image. The result, he claims, is that “British servicemen will wait longer for their third-rate prosthetic limbs, the elderly will suffer, not because there is not enough money but because money is being thrown at projects and governments that we know will not use it effectively.”

Mr Foreman, a former pupil of the £29,000 a year public school, St Paul’s, blames the mindset of those born into a state of privilege. “The Prime Minister and his circle apparently find it harder to empathise with a ‘chav’ in a wheelchair – even if he lost his legs in Afghanistan – than they do with disadvantaged people in the Third World,” he writes.

His book, Aiding and Abetting, calls for the Department for International Development to be abolished and most of its functions taken over by the Foreign Office. A third of its budget should go to the military, so that they can invest in transport and equipment that can be used either in war or for emergency relief, while another chunk of its budget should be allocated to the BBC World Service, he argues.