Monday, July 13, 2009

Conservatives Outline New Approach to Aid



David Cameron and Andrew Mitchell launched a new policy paper on international aid this morning. You can read the detail HERE. The video released at the same time emphasises a rewards based policy, which most people will support.

There is much to commend the policy paper, but there are two points I would make. Firstly, in times of economic crisis all departmental budgets must come under scrutiny and international aid should be no different. We all know there is massive wastage on some of the projects supported by Dfid and this must be rooted out.

Secondly, I refuse to believe that Britain should be sending aid to a country like China - not because it is Communist controlled (although that's good enough reason in itself), but because China is quite rich enough to look after its own people. Aid should go where it is needed, not to China. I hope a Conservative government will grasp this nettle and concentrate its aid efforts on African countries who need it most.

UPDATE: Tim Montgomerie has left a comment saying that Andrew Mitchell has said that aid to China will indeed stop. Hurrah!

31 comments:

Tim Montgomerie said...

Iain: Andrew Mitchell has said aid to China will stop.

Bill Quango MP said...

Isn't the 'aid' just a bribe. We get the Chinese to buy our stuff by giving them a discount dressed up as foreign aid.

Man in a Shed said...

Why does Africa still need "aid" ?

It really is time that question got a proper answer.

Anonymous said...

I don't think we should be sending aid to India either.

I have nothing against India, and I know they still have a great deal of poverty, and _real_ poverty, not like Labour's 'relative' poverty we suffer here, which can never be resolved until we're all brain-dead drones.

However they have enough money to be sending stuff into space. Sorry if they have the cash spare to do that then they don't need any from us....

Z.

Anonymous said...

so now China will just have to be given out and out bribes or real discounts which means there'll be less money in the pot. Do gooders will crucify you if you cut the DFID budget so it won't come out of that pot, so all other government spending will suffer because we've turned off the back door bribes to China. Law of unintended consequences.

Chap said...

And why should the UK provide aid to a country that can afford to fund its own space programme (India)?

DominicJ said...

What is the function of government?
Giving my money to african tyrants?

Tom said...

I'm sure that video will do wonders for the clown industry. :(

eddie said...

looks very like the old approach to aid, to me. Mr Cameron needs to get a copy of Dambissa Moyo's Dead Aid and to get to grips with that if he wants to have a new and relevant approach.

Lady Astor's son in law said...

How about a proper conservative approach and stop all govt. aid and let people donate their own money to any charity the want to?

Or does Nanny State know best?

NuLabour = BluLabour = NuLabour ...

Scan said...

Come now, Iain,

You know "aid" isn't aid, to ANY country, no matter how impoverished they may be. "Aid" is either an incentive for them to give us something or a reward for giving us something.

Aid isn't aid, and never the twain shall meet.

Boy on a bike said...

A lot of aid from western countries is provided as block grants to "charities".

I had a look at one recently.

93% of the money they raised themselves went on expenses - salaries, office rent, computers, fund raising etc. The CEO and CFO took home $AUS378,000 between them - from a charity that took in $AUS2 million in donations from the public per year.

This from a charity that wants to "end poverty". The only people it has lifted out of poverty are the top management.

Bigger aid budgets have simply created bigger executive salaries in the "charity-poverty complex".

Thomas said...

Stopping aid to China was a commitment made at the Conservative Party Conference last year.

colin said...

Whatever merits the policy has that video looks like a primary school powerpoint project.

ken from glos said...

Aid is a bribe for trade. simples.

Anonymous said...

The off shore benefits scheme needs to end.
It doesn't lift people out of poverty, it funds tyrants (be they head of a nation or in control of a politiced charity) The people don't see the majority of this wealth and when they do it's just a short term fix.
Children getting educated to end up out of work and on the streets! that is not a cure, it's a stat counting pat on the back.

Lift the trade barriers/tarrifs and let those countries trade their way out of poverty.
If funds are to be given, then pay firms to set up shop their, to train people and then employ them.
Training and educating alone does not help if the people just end up out of work at the end of it.

This can be achieved only when we look at the practical solutions instead of thinking about our own little guilt trips.

Trade and technology lifts people out of poverty as it creates work and work creates wealth (unless a goverment taxes too high!)
It's how the west did it (okay we didn't do it all in a humane manner but that has changed and is still changing.)

John Moss said...

fascinating discussion on this over at ConHome.

http://conservativehome.blogs.com/thetorydiary/2009/07/we-must-not-and-cannot-balance-the-budget-on-the-backs-of-the-worlds-poorest-people.html

Newmania said...

Much to commend?
People are losing their houses and we are asking them to pay taxes on the increased interest on the loans we are raising to kick in for India`s Space Programme .
Its a disgrace .International Aid was surveyed as the cut most people wanted . It is being increased by New Labour to 0.7% and Cameron has followed like a lost dog for no good reason
We hear other tax cuts are being shelved and if it goes on like this the its is very very hard to see any point in David Cameron

bugsmalone said...

Once upon a time, many centuries ago, I worked in a financial institution which cleared government aid sterling to several West African states.

We were always amused how rapidly this money came straight back to the private accounts (in US$) in our institution of the politicians, civil servants and military men at the top of the pile. Not one of them would have had less than $5-10m in their accounts - a lot of money in those days - and we regarded this all with the wry amusement that has to be demonstrated when one worked in a financial institution in those days.

I can't imagine that anything much has changed and it's worth reminding ourselves that foreign aid is poor people in rich countries handing money to rich people in poor countries.

Thank God we have some honest charities working hard to help the poor in Africa and China because without them things would be immeasurably worse.

We should stop all government foreign now.

Anonymous said...

If I were Andrew Micthell (and thank God I'm not becauise he is a nasty piecde of work), I would cancel aid to India and China, and instead put more funding into projects which create employment and self suffficiency.

India and China should be able to look after their own. The fact that they choose not to is not our fault - we should help those who genuinely cannot help themselves.

Pogo said...

I do not see the point in giving aid to much of Africa... Just ship the money direct to Switzerland and cut out the middle-men.

Scott said...

Cameron is right for the same reason the new Obama administration is right. The new American administration is busy designing a diplomacy for the next decade. Partly for broad strategic reasons, but also as an acknowledgement of new realities, aid and development are going to be at the centre of that new approach.

Even more than the American, the British war fighting capability has been seriously degraded by more than a decade of foreign policy activism. For the foreseeable future, war fighting is likely to be off the agenda. And so if we want to retain any foreign policy clout, it is going to have to be in the aid and development fields.

The alternative is to have no foreign policy at all. And so those who are serious about foreign policy should support this announcement. Indeed, there is a strong case for increasing the aid and development budgets. And so I would like to see the Tories go even further.

In particular I would like to see real thought given to ways of more fully integrating the aid and development functions with foreign and defence policy, something to give them the same sort of strategic focus and bite that the new Quarterly Development and Diplomacy Review aims to bring to policy in the United States. That said, this statement is to be welcomed. It is only a start, but it is a move that signals a much more nuanced diplomacy, one that fits seamlessly with the new policy being designed in Washington and one that brings our capabilities and our intentions much more into balance.

-----------------
P.S. if anybody should feel so inclined, I’ll be blogging about this in more depth later on. So feel free to wander over to my place.

The Purpleline said...

I believe aid is a form of protection money, if you give China and India aid as we do we will secure business from them.

Aid to Pakistan to ensure we do not have an influx of rabid Pakistani terrorists.

Aid to Africa as a bribe to fight a clandestine war with China over resources.

I would stop Aid immediately and use the money at home. Once our poor were back on track and able to help them through employment I would re-start foreign aid. Only once Great Britain had regained control over its monetary budgets.

canvas said...

As Obama says "Yes, YOU can".

David Cameron is right to want poorer countries to start helping themselves. It's not about what you do - it's how you do it. He's on to a good one with this...

We will all benefit...

The Remittance Man said...

What about aid to India. Last time I looked, our annual cheque to Dehli just about covered the cost of the Indian space programme. What's more, India, herself sends foreign aid to places like Afghanistan.

This does not sound like a country in need of charity - for which I actually congratulate the Indians.

Curtis E.Kerr said...

More Roger Irrelevant bollocks from Team Dave. Yawn.

I would have thought the DFID would be the first to face the axe along with the so-called 'aid' budget. Axe it all. Thats more than a few quid saved.

I couldn't give a stuff about overseas development. I'm more worried about UK development or the lack of it.

Nick said...

Aside from their space programme and nuclear weapons, India is rich enough to be paying the Russians £1.3bn for an aircraft carrier, while we are giving them £800m in aid to put towards it. We can't afford our own aircraft carriers.

If it's not thinly disguised bribery to promote arms exports, foreign aid seems to be more about post-colonial guilt than anything else, and it ends up in the Swiss bank accounts of corrupt leaders. The best thing we could do for African countries is to get rid of the CAP and other protectionism, and allow them to stand on their own feet in a free market. Trade not aid.

idiotz said...

It's obvious these clueless Tories know sod all about government, if they're making basic errors like this.

The simple fact is that giving aid benefits us. We get far more in return than the cost in aid.

Just how ignorant are these clowns.

niconoclast said...

Foreign Aid is pure Socialism, an obscene attempt to extend the Welfare State to the whole globe. Sending taxpayer's money to the black hole of Africa is truly voodoo economics.The first thing any Tory government should do is abolish all Foreign Aid.

GHS said...

With the goverment borrowing £1 for every £3 it spends how can we justify giving away money in aid? If the defence budget is going to be cut while we are fighting a war how can we justify giving away money in aid? We are borrowing money to give to another country who then piss it up the wall.
This country is broke, attend to our own finances first and when we are out of this bloody mess of GB's then look at aid. But make it private aid i.e. cut our taxes and then WE will decide who gets our money. Not bloody politicians who feed their ego with our money.
Also as we are broke, why are we still giving money (£7B pa thanks to TB) to the EU? When was the last time their accounts were signed off?

canvas said...

niconoclast says "The first thing any Tory government should do is abolish all Foreign Aid."

wtf?!

and that is why you are (thankfully) not the prime minister.

sheesh...