April 2017 – International Aid Targets

April 2017 – International Aid Targets

Thank you for contacting me about the aid budget.

I have written about this issue previously here and while I appreciate that Britain’s aid budget remains vitally important in helping people who are desperately in need, I remain of the view that ring-fencing the aid budget or mandating an 0.7%/GDP spend is not currently the right course.

Britain’s aid spending has achieved many successes, of which we can all be proud. These achievements also make us safer: disasters, conflicts and diseases don’t pay attention to national borders, so action needs to be taken before problems grow and threaten us at home. The Government is committed to ensuring UK Aid is invested firmly in our national interest, and I particularly have confidence in our excellent Secretary of State, Rt Hon Priti Patel MP, to ensure that aid money is spent in a transparent and accountable manner.  I also agree with the argument that by investing in the UK’s soft power, and in development in unstable and insecure countries, the UK is also investing in its own stability, security, and prosperity.  However, with deficit reduction still a pressing necessity as well as a large number of very worthy causes and pressing needs here in the UK, including in Selby and Ainsty, I tend to think that an artificially-mandated target is not the right choice in this case, and instead the aid budget should be evaluated in a more responsive fashion to both emerging international circumstances and to evolving national priorities.

Thank you again for taking the time to get in touch.