Letter: Aid that benefits the giver

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The Independent Online
I READ with dismay and embarrassment Chris Blackhurst's article 'Help to the world - who gains?' (13 February). For years we have known that our overseas aid budget is pathetically small, and getting smaller. We have also known that much of the aid is tied to trade deals which benefit ourselves at least as much as the developing country, and encourage an arms trade, itself of dubious morality.

We now find that a handful of British companies are winning a disproportionate number of contracts for overseas projects, so that some of the money allocated to overseas development actually returns to Britain via profits paid to shareholders.

Surely this is a bigger scandal than the sexual misdemeanours of MPs? Would it not be more appropriate for the media to devote its time to asking embarrassing questions about these matters?

It is time we developed a sense of proportion. We are comparatively rich as a nation, and should be showing genuine concern for those who are unable to share our prosperity. This would mean giving without looking to serve our own interests in the process.

E Anne Lacey

Rotherham, Yorks