Should We Stop Giving Foreign Aid?

Updated: May 16, 2020

Article originally published in 2016.

Authored by Jill Perry and James Goad.


Foreign Aid:

A portion of the UK Government’s annual income is sent overseas as aid for developing countries to compete fairly on the global market, and is justified on moral grounds as it helps to modernise those states that may be unable to modernise on their own. It is also intended to ensure that those states’ citizens are protected by their government. The UK, as part of an agreement with the rest of the G7, dedicates 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI) to foreign aid spending every year.

Opponents of foreign aid say that there are enough issues at home to take care of that the money could be spent on, like the homeless population, or fixing the deficit. Some have also pointed to India, who still receives large amounts of foreign aid from the UK every year, yet has a space program, as an example of a state that does not need foreign aid.

Those in favour argue that, in many cases, foreign aid is spent to remedy wider international crises, such as the refugee crisis, in which case money should be sent to Libya, Syria or Lebanon to help those states counter the issue at home.

For keeping, or increasing foreign aid spending (Jill Perry):

  • Foreign aid should be aimed at helping the poor in recipient countries not helping British companies by being linked to trade and therefore "self-serving".

  • I would like to see it directed to small scale sustainable projects based on local self-reliance and low environmental impact technologies; I certainly wouldn't like to see it decreased and would be quite happy to see an increase.

For reducing foreign aid spending (James Goad):

  • Decrease foreign aid spending and conserve a vastly reduced amount purely for humanitarian relief in terms of natural or man-made disasters. I’ve nothing against private companies or non-governmental organisations using private capital to invest in humanitarian projects overseas.

  • However, the government has no right to use tax payer’s money abroad. Government’s priorities are to look after the welfare of their citizens, not those of other nations. Ring-fencing the foreign-aid budget is hugely expensive and utterly wrong, especially during these times of need at home.

  • If the alleviation of poverty in foreign nations was truly of interest to our government, they would seek to remove barriers to trade. This can only be done by leaving the European Union.

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