Foreign Aid: Reduce it or Scrap it | Callum R. Dann

0.7 per cent of the UK’s gross national income is spent on foreign aid each and every year. Put into perspective that is around £12bn every year and in 2015 it was £12.1bn. And the foreign aid budget has only got bigger over time; in the 80’s it was around £3bn. That £12bn is split into multilateral aid and bilateral aid, 37:63 per cent, with the former going to organisations like the United Nations – majority of which the UK has no control over and will not see where it is spent. Foreign aid promotes the UK as a global-open nation which is friendly and can fix world problems.

Money alone cannot fix problems. That’s a fact.

South Korea is a wonderful example. Post-war, South Korea’s economy was dreadful, they were poorer than Somali Land. How did they rise and become such an international developed country? Through trading and having global outreach. The most effective way for UK to provide ‘aid’ is through trade, tariff free, promoting the free market and giving advice. Sending endless money ensures the country receiving the aid remains in a cycle and the issue – be it poverty or education – remains. The best way to fix the problems of a country, is not through money, but through promotion and fair advice. South Korea proves it has worked.

The UK’s bloated foreign aid budget is not well spent or well maintained. When you have over £1.2bn going to the most corrupt countries in the world, not direct government-to-government, fears grow that it is being hijacked by terrorist’s organisations or the rich and wealthy. Taking taxpayer’s money and giving it to the rich in another country is theft. Accountability is a must where money and foreign investment is concerned. We, as a country, have no control over finding out where the taxpayer’s money is going.

Of course the UK should maintain an emergency relief fund to retain its status as the best soft power and keep up its influence across the globe. Wasteful spending on Ethiopian Spice Girls is not going to help a poor child in Kenya who cannot access school.

When it comes to health concerns, we can do more in the UK with internal funding than just giving away pots of free money. In the UK we can work on cheaper, more cost effective, vaccines for example, which we could supply people with in foreign countries.

And we mustn’t forget. The UK has its own major issues with health, housing and education. £12bn could do a lot and there is a very valid argument of “charity starts at home”.

Foreign Aid should be reduced, if not scraped. It is good for retaining soft power and influence but it does not face or help any of the issues we proclaim to be addressing. History has proven one thing – British aid is best served through guidance and installation of advisory panels, not endless rotations of money.

Callum R. Dann is a writer for Student Voices.

Foreign Aid: Reduce it or Scrap it | Callum R. Dann Foreign Aid: Reduce it or Scrap it | Callum R. Dann Reviewed by Student Voices on 11:37 Rating: 5

1 comment:

  1. Hi Callum - thank you for this. While I agree there are large problems with the way UKAid is dispersed, it is not true that 'we have no idea where the money is going'. DFID is the most heavily scrutinised department in the government. It accounts for every pound spent, and is routinely investigated by independent watchdogs. A routine search on independent websites can find impressive claims of what DFID aid has achieved. I also do not believe that aid should solely be spent on trade, or in the 'national interest'. Polling finds the majority of Britons support aid on a moral basis - that it is our duty to help those less fortunate than ourselves. There is much to be done to support emergency relief efforts, encourage improved education and healthcare, and support more effective policymaking. This can be done in a way that is effective, and in a way that is accountable to the British public.


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