Tories attacked on cuts in overseas aid
The tea ladies in Conservative Central Office will be serving Fair Trade coffee tomorrow as Bob Geldof and dozens of leading figures from aid organisations arrive for an exchange of opinions with Michael Howard.
What they will be shown is the new, caring face of the Conservative Party as Mr Howard and the shadow Development Minister, John Bercow, listen to hear what charities such as Oxfam, Christian Aid and the Fairtrade Foundation want any future Tory government to do for them.
But what the Tories will actually do, Labour claimed yesterday, is take a huge lump out of Britain's aid budget amounting to more than twice the annual aid to three of Africa's poorest nations.
Mr Howard's determination to put a lid on public spending, in the hope of cutting taxes, means that all government department budgets, apart from education and health, would be frozen for two years.
The shadow Chancellor, Oliver Letwin, said earlier this month: "I have agreed with my Shadow Cabinet colleagues that the baseline for spending across all of these department budgets will be 0 per cent growth for the first two years."
Mr Bercow, speaking at a conference organised by the think-tank IPPR last week, admitted: "I cannot say to you that a freeze would not apply to the international development budget."
Paul Boateng, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, released figures yesterday to illustrate the impact of this proposed spending freeze.
The annual budget of the Department for International Development is £4,526m. If that figure is allowed to keep pace with inflation, it will reach £4,755m by 2007-08. But a cash freeze would hold it at £4,526m - equivalent to a £229m cut.
The poorest country in Africa is Sudan, which receives £14m in UK aid every year. Sierra Leone receives £40m and Ethiopia £57m, making a combined total for those three states of £111m, less than half the sum the Tories propose to cut from the department's budget.
- 3 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 4 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 5 Isis publicly behead man in Syrian town square for 'insulting Allah' as he screams for help
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Michelle Obama highlights harsh restrictions faced by Saudi women after meeting King Salman without wearing a headscarf
Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
Sir David Attenborough interview: The one question about life that still baffles him
Isis publicly behead man in Syrian town square for 'insulting Allah' as he screams for help
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
£35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is going through a period o...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This award-winning digital publishing solution...
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: NON-CONTENTIOUS (0-2 PQE) - A rare opportunity...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Financial Analyst is required to join...