Monday, July 05, 2010

Reasons Not to Ringfence the Dfid Budget: No 94

Amount spent by India on its space programme: £633 million

Amount of UK development aid to India over next three years: £825 million

Source: 5 Live Breakfast
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

21 comments:

Evsie said...

That's an arguement for spending the budget better, not for cutting the budget. The BRICK nations clearly don't need the money, there's an awful lot of people who don't have enough to eat on this planet, let's help them instead.

Simon Lewis said...

Yes yes yes. Totally argree. No argument from me

Trixy said...

Completely right. Anyone with a vague grasp of economics would know that what we should be doing is embracing free world trade and removing the aid budgets.

However our masters don't appear to get that one: presumably it upsets people who don't want to become efficient.

How can the defence budget be cut but we can pay for more mercedes and jets for demonic tyrants in the developing world?

Blackacre said...

I agree with Evsie. The budget needs to be targetted better. There may be reasons not to ring fence it, but this is not one; merely a reason not to send any aid money to India.

Twig said...

The Indian space program played a major role in discovery of water on the moon. Surely that's worth the borrowing we undertake to fund them?

The Pink Cabal said...

Anyone who has ever worked in a developing nation will tell you that aid needs to be better targeted and monitored, not cut. Anyone else who suggests free trade is a better answer, clearly can't get off their fat arse to check that we usually tend to rob the countries of their natural resources, to pay lower costs for our profligate lifestyles. Thus allowing a small proportion to have vast wealth, while millions more end up struggling to eat just once a day, with no medical or education facilities nearby to assist them. Using a ludicrous example to bring home a point that has no justification is lazy and inept. At least try harder.

dazhat said...

I disagree. The long term gain to people in India of having a space programme justifies its existence.

Our aid projects can empower them to do things they could not otherwise do even if they had no space programme.

john in cheshire said...

The BNP have been making this point for a long time now. But of course, no one wants to hear it when it comes from them.

Gallimaufry said...

Have you not considered that it is a cunning plan to outsource the UK Space Programme with much cheaper labour and infrastructure costs.
"Bangalore, we have a problem."
"Hulloo, my name is Dave and I will be most gratefully assisting you in returning safely to earth before we start please may I confirm your identity. What is your name again and the first line of your address and your date of birth? How do you spell that please?" I blame Wee Dougie Alexander.
Alternatively you might wonder why India is planning to buy more C-17 Globemaster III transports thant the RAF.

Paul Halsall said...

I agree that Aid to India is misplaced, not only because of the Space programme (and Nuclear weapons), but also because India spends so much of its national income importing Gold bullion (India imports over 500 million tonnes of gold per year - see http://www.commodityonline.com/news/Gold-jewellery-exports-gold-imports-by-India-zoom-25854-3-1.html )

But there is a lot of poverty in the world, and well focused aid is needed.

Kevin said...

It’s a bit of a simplistic connection

ALL countries waste money on pet projects - but the space programme may well have long term benefits not just for India but the whole of mankind.

Having said that im sure if you looked you could find other ways India 'wastes' money which could go to the poor. The space programme is always an easy target

The real problem is that countries that have large groups of very poor people usually have problems with their economic infrastructure - this is why large swathes of their people are suffering. And it’s why handing out large sums of money to un-reconstructed economic basket cases usually only fills the pockets of the wrong people.

And as for that jibe from the pink cabal about 'robbing countries' - that came straight from the socialist book of economics. It implies that some kind of collective guilt means we should pour unaccountable amounts of money to certain countries irrespective of what we can afford to salve our consciousness - well you are not using my money to salve your guilty conscience mate

Guy said...

Evsie's got a point. If anyone deserves to get some of the DFID pocketchange it's Hugo Chavez in Venezuela.

Of course, I base this solely on Oliver Stone's new documentary, South of the Border...

http://southoftheborder.dogwoof.com/

killemallletgodsortemout said...

I suppose we'll have to apologise when Sanjeev crashes the bloody thing.

axxc said...

Totally agree. Dfid aid to India and China is obviously wrong above that needed to strengthen relations (i.e. not much). Aid directed to UK trade unions for disbursement by the Dfid must also be questionable. As an aside, if the Dfid website was as simple to understand as that of other countries aid departments (e.g. Ausaid, NZaid) then it would be easier for the public to question the use of public money.

Alex said...

Disagree. The money we give to India is barely more than the money we save by recruiting trained Indian doctors every year.

iCowboy said...

I'm with dazhat on this one. India's space programme is good for their economy. It's attracting foreign payloads and earning hard currency as well as building the country's high technology base which it will need to keep growing its economy and lifting more people out of poverty.

Not just that, they've invested very heavily in satellite technology that benefit the rural poor - improved weather forecasting, remote sensing for water and minerals, comms satellites bringing TV, Internet and telephone to very remote areas and so on.

India still has a huge number of very poor people and they need all the help they can get. If we can help, we should.

If you want to get at space programmes you should be condemning ours. We're the only country to develop a space launcher (a damn good one too) and then give up and be forced to buy launchers from abroad.

Goodwin said...

I think our aid programmes to India, China, Russia, Nigeria and no doubt numerous other countries are all worthy of a review and the DFID budget should definitely not be ring-fenced. It is also about time our contributions to the UN and other international organizations were properly scrutinized for value for money and to confirm that the money is not going to fund the long-term favourite activities of UN cronies.

StringersBeer said...

Does anybody really think that money spent on (say) space research is put into a box and sent to the moon? We don't actually have to pay the space people to use their space you know. It just goes round the (earth) economy surely?

Oh, and by the way that'll be just 500 tonnes of gold, I should think. 500 million would be about 30% of what we've got out of the ground in all history. Technically known as a sh*t load.

George said...

We're giving money to China as well arn't we?

DFID's aid budget encourages many nations to become dependant on such aid and not fix themselves. It also encourages corruption and rarely does the actual money end up where it was promised.

Given the state of our own economy, and that parts of our own country need support why on earth are we giving any money to anybody. Our needs first and frankly to hell with the rest of the world, let them sort themselves out.

Indeed, doesn't most of DFID's budget get allocated by Brussels anyway? And if not are we not in any event duplicating the effort of Brussels who are spending our money.

Norfolk Blogger said...

Iain, I've highlighted this many times before on my blog. We are effectively bankrolling their nuclear programme whilst the Indian government lets millions starve. Ridiculous.

Martin said...

Amen Evsie. It's disingenuous to look at one area of spend as a reason for not ring fencing. And anyway, the bigger point is that UK aid is considerably less than 1% of the national budget, and has been far far less than appropriate for decades now. We stack global trade rules and financial rules in our favour, the very least we can do as a nod to compassion and justice is keep our promises on aid.