United Kingdom cancels generous Foreign aid policy
Boris Johnson. Britain Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs . Photo AFP
London, Dec. 31, 2017 (AltAfrika)-The UK’s aid budget will no longer be the generous package for recipient countries to spend as they wish but be strictly shifted to projects that promote its interests, the foreign secretary has said.
Boris Johnson said the money will be “more sensibly distributed” to support foreign policy aims such as denying safe havens to Islamist militants.
His comments came as Penny Mordaunt, the international development secretary, said the UK will provide a £21m boost to an emergency aid fund.
The UK currently spends £13bn on aid each year.
Speaking to the Times newspaper, Mr Johnson said “the old jam jars are being smashed” and money would be diverted to support government aims, including combating terrorist groups in Africa.
The government is committed to spending 0.7% of national income on overseas aid but some politicians oppose such spending.
Conservative backbench MP Peter Bone has said the target “means that important things at home like social care are struggling,” while Ukip have called for the aid budget to be cut by 80% and focus only on emergency responses and eradicating disease.
Labour backs the 0.7% target, saying global poverty reduction is itself in the UK’s interest.
In January, the government scrapped plans to fund an Ethiopian girl band as part of a project to promote women’s rights. It said there were “more effective ways” to invest UK aid.