Tag Archives: foreign aid

Foreign aid budget cuts causes harm at home and abroad

Many Conservative MPs have been triumphantly crowing on social media that the government is planning to reduce our foreign aid budget.

Make no mistake, not only will this impact on some of the world’s most disadvantaged and vulnerable people during a pandemic, but it will also impact negatively on scientific jobs and research funding right here in the UK. Decades of research will be affected.

If these Tory MPs, who claim we cannot afford to meet our foriegn aid commitments, were genuinely wanting to save taxpayer’s money, they would call out the corruption and cronyism from their own government ministers.

Instead, they are boasting about breaking their manifesto promises to maintain our current level of foreign aid. Conveniently, they don’t explain that our foreign aid budget helps fund polio eradication programmes, the manufacturing of prosthetic limbs for landmine victims, UN refugee camps and UK science jobs.

The most pressing challenges we face as a civilisation are truly global in nature – climate change, the growing resistance of bacteria to our antibiotics, how to manage and feed our fast-growing population and fighting pandemics.

All these issues will directly affect the UK.

None of these issues can be addressed by any country working alone.

Much of the UK foreign aid budget is focused on tackling these issues.

Some of this money funds British scientists carrying out research into infectious diseases in developing countries. Diseases such as rabies, polio and avian influenza all have the potential to affect the UK.

So when our foreign aid budget is cut, some UK scientists lose their funding and potentially their jobs. Ground breaking research projects which were awarded money some months ago have since had all funding retracted bringing them to a sudden halt. There is no doubt that this will cost lives.

The majority of our foreign aid is spent in the world’s poorest and most dangerous countries, including Syria and Afghanistan. In these conflict regions most of this research is built on years building relationships and trust to encouraging people to engage with science – all this hard work a progress is now at risk.

Some mean spirited Tory MPs have long banged on about reducing foreign aid because they are either too ignorant to understand the consequences of their actions, or they simply enjoy whipping up xenophobia by using the foreign aid budget and refugee crisis as a political football.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 2 Comments

Lord Jeremy Purvis writes… Aid backlash faced off in Lords

Last Friday I had to face off against serious opposition to Michael Moore’s International Development Private Members Bill (The 0.7% Bill) during its Committee Stage in the House of Lords.

It was clear from the Second Reading debate a few weeks ago that the overwhelming majority of Peers, across all Parties, support the aims behind Michael’s Bill. Its aim is simple- to enshrine in law our commitment to spending 0.7% of Gross National Income on International Aid, helping some of the world’s poorest people.

Posted in News | 23 Comments

On Budget day: What Lib Dem members think of the Coalition’s economic policy and ring-fencing of spending

Lib Dem Voice polled our members-only forum recently to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Some 650 party members have responded, and we’re publishing the full results.

George Osborne with Red Box, Budget 2012

Just 26% of Lib Dem members support Osborne’s ‘Plan A’

Thinking of the current state of the economy and the Coalition’s approach, which of the following statements is closest to your own view?

    20% – Cutting the deficit isn’t enough: alongside public spending cuts, the Coalition should be

Posted in LDV Members poll and News | Also tagged , , , and | 8 Comments

A welcome shift in international interventions

News of the Arab League’s sanctions against Syria brings to mind the Curate’s Egg – good in parts. That such sanctions are unprecedented shows a welcome increase once more in the Arab League’s willingness to stand up to dictators where mass violence against the population is involved. (Other dictators are another matter of course.) After the steps in Libya and now Syria, the Arab League is looking rather more like a body that does good rather than excuses evil.

That transformation only goes so far. For it has taken months and around 3,500 deaths to bring about sanctions which are …

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 1 Comment

Malcolm Bruce MP writes: How UK Aid is being spent in the developing world

Malcolm Bruce MP in Bangladesh
Photo courtesy of The Gavi Alliance.

I have just returned from Dhaka, Bangladesh, where I was part of a parliamentary delegation looking at Bangladesh’s rapidly improving healthcare system and in particular their immunisation programmes, which the UK Government through bilateral aid and the GAVI Alliance is helping to support.

Pneumonia and diarrhoea together account for about 40% of all under 5 mortality in the world and yet most of these cases could be prevented through the use of vaccines.

The GAVI Alliance was established …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 2 Comments

The Independent View: Centre Forum is wrong about aid – UK aid makes a difference

At a time of economic difficulties, it is welcome that the Coalition Government is retaining its commitment to the UK overseas aid budget. Indeed, UK aid is demonstrating great value for money, and making a real difference in the lives of the poorest. Which is why CentreForum’s recent paper by Pauline Dixon and Paul Marshall ‘International aid and educating the poorest’ is so puzzling. The report paints an alarming – but highly partial – picture of aid doing little to help reduce poverty, promote growth or achieve progress in education, and everything to line the pockets of corrupt elites. …

Posted in The Independent View | Also tagged , , and | 3 Comments

Opinion: Time for the Liberal Democrats to stand up and be counted on foreign aid

The Liberal Democrats have a proud tradition of prioritising international development, but it is time to re-think our foreign aid strategy. All three parties’ manifestoes pledged to increase aid spending to 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income (GNI). This sounds very “nice” and positive, but the commitment bears no relation to the actual needs of developing countries and ignores the mounting evidence showing that the current system of aid is perpetuating the poverty it seeks to alleviate. If we are to be serious about helping the world’s poorest, we need to stop focusing upon what we want to give, …

Posted in Op-eds | 22 Comments
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