Politics Explained

Liz Truss is making UK power – not fighting poverty – the principle of overseas aid

The foreign secretary is asking us to believe it is possible to copy China’s ruthless approach – but in a nice way, writes Rob Merrick

Saturday 21 May 2022 21:30
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<p>As Ms Truss herself put it, bold as brass: ‘In an increasingly geopolitical world, we must use development as a key part of our foreign policy’ </p>

As Ms Truss herself put it, bold as brass: ‘In an increasingly geopolitical world, we must use development as a key part of our foreign policy’

David Cameron said it was for “people in desperate need”, while Theresa May called it “a promise to the poorest in the world” – but no longer will either be the bedrock of overseas aid spending.

In a little-noticed revolution, Liz Truss is turning decades of UK policy on its head, making the ruthless motives of Xi Jinping – rather than the idealism of Bob Geldof – her model for the aid budget.

Of course, the foreign secretary did not put it quite like that, when she unveiled her international development strategy, but it is crystal clear that is the new thinking.

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