Is it honorable to give to those in need far away, while spending less on those in your own backyard? That’s the debate that’s circling around important locales in Britain at the moment. International Development Minister Alan Duncan explained recently that the Coalition has pledged an increase in foreign aid by 34% to more than £12billion, even though this pledge is making them very unpopular at home.
This plan comes at a time when austerity plans are in place back home in England. Alan Duncan explained, however, as he told Sky News that,
“I would urge you to appreciate this gives us enormous respect in the world as well. We may not be enormously popular at home for talking about doing what we do on aid but I’ll tell you, you go around the world and people say, ‘Britain, you are leading the world on this, both in terms of what you think about aid and how you deliver it.’”
Dissent in the Ranks
Not everyone agrees with his tactics. Tory right-wingers like MP Peter Bone are angry that the taxpayers’ money is being given to those overseas, while people at home face tax increases and spending cuts. As Bone said,
“I’m not sure whether people abroad think we are leading the world, but they will definitely think we are mugs.”
Tory Philip Davies pointed out that the job of the Governments is to do the best that they can within their own country, not to win a popularity contest abroad. He said that, “At a time when we are trying to persuade people there is no money to spend at home, it is totally unjustifiable to be spending so much extra on overseas aid.”
Britain actually spends more on their international aid as a percentage of GDP than does any other G8 country.
David Cameron is backing the aid plan, as he showed in his defense at the G8 Summit in France. He said that he was part of the Live Aid generation and that he grew up seeing the value of international aid.