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Should the UK decrease the international aid budget, maintain the 0.7% of GDP pledge or increase the aid budget?
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5 Silas Frøkner
post May 31 2015, 06:16 PM
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With the Conservatives back in the office on a majority ticket the budget is in for a hammering. One target of the back-benchers and UKIP is the international aid budget.

Should the UK decrease the international aid budget, maintain the 0.7% of GDP pledge or increase the aid budget?



Some say that the UK should look after it's own, especially with the rising use of food banks.

Others think that the current level of funding for international aid is about right. It meets our international commitments.

Then others think that actually, as a rich western nation we should be doing our bit to help those less fortunate than ourselves.


Where do you stand?


While you are here, take a look at previous debates and if you haven't already, have your say in those too!

'The voting age should be lowered to 16'
'Abortion should be made illegal in the UK'
'Animal testing should be outright banned'
'Vaccines should be a legal requirement'
'Religion does more harm than good'
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5 Silas Frøkner
post May 31 2015, 06:32 PM
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Personally I think that we should increase our spending to 1% of GDP, in line with increasing spending in general.

We are very fortunate in this world and we should spread the love.
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Yuki On Ice~
post May 31 2015, 06:47 PM
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Very much in favour of an increase. To hold back is just miserly considering how good we have it compared to almost any country not in the Europe & Anglophone sphere. We should be trying to do better than just internationally acceptable commitments.

I hope it isn't cut but it's the sort of thing I expect to see on the agenda unfortunately.
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Doctor Blind
post May 31 2015, 07:04 PM
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Georgie's emergency budget is on the 8th July, but given the commitment to .7% of GDP is in law now I don't see the international aid budget being cut.

Unless of course our GDP falters .. which is a distinct possibility. BTW- I've opted for 'stay at 0.7%'.


This post has been edited by Doctor Blind: May 31 2015, 07:05 PM
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Candlelit Snow
post May 31 2015, 07:08 PM
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And you think the international aid budget actually helps people who need it?

We give aid to India and China, incredibly rich countries, for international, not charitable, reasons.

The budget should be completely revamped and worked on a need-by-need, case-by-case basis with no minimum percentage but a maximum percentage of 0.7.
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Yuki On Ice~
post May 31 2015, 07:23 PM
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QUOTE(#BJSCFLOPPERRRRR @ May 31 2015, 08:08 PM) *
And you think the international aid budget actually helps people who need it?


That's the intention! Cutting or keeping spending level doesn't solve the problem of corruption, neither does increasing it to be fair, but of course whatever we can do on our end to make sure it's going where it should should be tried.
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Candlelit Snow
post May 31 2015, 07:26 PM
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Such as ending it in its current state and making a pot tha can't go over 0.7, but also has no minimum spend needed, that is more flexible, relevant, less corrupt and able to be used more effectively, giving more money in situations which actually NEED it like with Nepal and not annual payments to super rich countries with their own space programmes.
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Brett-Butler
post May 31 2015, 07:45 PM
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There's a moral argument that a country as rich as the UK should be giving out substantial aid to other countries that are in need of it. 0.7% is a reasonable sum to pay out annually (it works out at about £19 billion a year, if I'm correct), and it shouldn't drop below that amount. Besides given that Britain's colonial past is the reason why so many of those countries are in need of aid, it's only right that it gives substantial amounts to those areas that need.
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Winter Wombatlan...
post May 31 2015, 07:48 PM
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I think more should be given definitely for countries in situations like Nepal is. For all else, I think the current rate is satisfactory, definitely no point in cutting it further as this feels like a good middle ground.

This post has been edited by Chez Wombat: May 31 2015, 07:49 PM
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Rooney
post May 31 2015, 08:05 PM
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Keep it as it is. Not increases or decreases - just keep it as it is.
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Qassändra
post May 31 2015, 08:16 PM
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I think the way we distribute aid at the moment actually harms development, rather than helps it.

The problem with 0.7% being held as a totem is that it doesn't really focus on what should be the main goal here - development. Focusing on means and intent rather than ends is never a healthy way to go about policy - and, as someone who spent a long time supporting 0.7% for its own sake, it really is essentially just there as a goal to make us feel better about ourselves and because we feel we ought to give something back. And that's a noble aim (and a correct one - we should give back and work to encourage international development given how much we benefited as a nation from the legacy of the Empire), but I think it's an abdication of international responsibility and a little too simplistic to have our main development goal as a spending target, rather than a development target with a legitimate strategy for how we achieve it. Good intentions aren't a strategy.

There are two big issues with the way aid is distributed at the moment. The first is that a lot of governments have come to rely on it as a source of income, which breaks the accountability that comes from developing a tax base - when a growing middle class is paying tax to a government, they generally expect some return on their tax, be it through public services, enhanced institutions or reduced corruption. No taxation without representation and all that - a growing middle class is the only way a healthy democracy develops. The second is that in the rush of good intentions local companies are often damaged, harming the capability for a lot of these countries to become self-sufficient. Take a malaria outbreak, where countless celebrities launch a drive for mosquito nets to be sent to a country - only for it to then drive a local net producer out of business because the nets are all coming in from abroad. Far better a focus for aid would be to raise the funds to buy nets locally, rather than

The problem also is that aid is pretty much flying into the wind so long as the EU keeps the Common Agricultural Policy unreformed and the likes of the IMF and the World Bank proscribe Structural Adjustment Programmes demanding liberalisation of less developed economies (privatisations, removal of tariffs and subsidies) in return for loans. It's pretty difficult for growing companies to compete with global multinationals before they're allowed to develop, let alone when they face higher barriers to competing in developed economies. It's a bit like sending a Sunday league team to play against Chelsea, with the pitch slanted downwards towards the Sunday league goal.
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Suedehead2
post May 31 2015, 10:25 PM
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I am all in favour of the 0.7% target. I'm no fan of Cameron (some people may have noticed), but I applaud his commitment to maintain that target. Under the coalition, he will have been under pressure from the Lib Dems to stick to his pledge. Now, with pressure from his right-wing to abandon the pledge (and, in some cases, to abandon most of the overseas aid budget altogether, apart from emergencies such as Nepal), he should be given due credit if he sticks to his guns.

Over the years, successive governments have done more to try to ensure that the money is spent wisely. It is true that too much in the past ended up in the pockets of dictators. That is less of a problem now.

Too many people on the right-wing argue both for less overseas aid and less immigration. They refuse to accept that there will be fewer people wanting to come to places like the UK if the gap in living standards between the UK and other parts of the world was not so great. It is hardly surprising that people who have to walk miles every day just to get access to clean water, think that they might be better off elsewhere.

There are a number of areas which should be prioritised. As I suggested above, access to clean water is one of them. Another priority is education, especially education of girls. If girls are in school, the number getting pregnant at a very early age is reduced - this is a demonstrable fact, not an opinion. Education means that more girls see that their opportunities are not limited to having children. And, of course, education in general - of boys as well as girls - makes people better equipped to help themselves in adulthood.

We can do more to reduce - if not eradicate - certain diseases. The recent Ebola crisis was bad, but the numbers involved were tiny when compared with the number of people who die of malaria every year. Yet, some preventative measures such as providing mosquito nets, are extremely cheap.

In summary, the money must be targeted in the right countries and for the right purpose. It is not simply a matter of sending a cheque to various (often corrupt) governments and trusting them to spend the money wisely.
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Zárate
post Jun 1 2015, 09:23 AM
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^ yeah, basically the main question is not about the amount of money which needs to be spent on it, but how the money is spent. Do you know the structure of international aid spending as of last year? As of: to which countries it is given away, and on what purposes. So the first step is the proper audit of all those £19 billion a year. And even if it's not spent on China or given away to some small dictator, there are still so many various options not to spend it on actual living people but to give it to some structures, which are, for instance, close to this or that business enterprise, politician etc etc. It often turns out that a huge chunk, if not all of this spending "for a good cause", ends up in pockets of some lobbyists. That's what happened to all of the Ebola hysteria, yet no one cares about malaria (thank you Suedehead) where you can more or less win a disease in a very cheap way. Why does no one care? Because you can't spend a lot of money on that endlessly.

To sum up, the general problem with all of the international aid is in that:
1. You can't really control the spending most of the time (i.e. it's more likely to be very corrupt than the spending within the country)
2. It might provoke the laziness of the "helped" countries. Not an entirely correct example, but you'll get the idea: Greece. Now they DEMAND the money from EU to make up the debts and waste the money again. Germany sighs and works harder.
3. It's really hard to determine what is actually needed. When you need to recover for some mass disease or catastrophe, it's obvious, but what else?

It's not that I'm against the international aid spending, I just think it should be spent extremely carefully. And the main aim of international aid in my opinion is not just giving money, but motivating the poor countries to earn money by themselves. And, of course, the recovering from some kind of huge disasters should be financed by the whole world. And, of course, not just Great Britain, but the whole world should discuss the main aims on what the aid should be spent. I really like the idea of basic education for everyone, for example.
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Candlelit Snow
post Jun 3 2015, 01:08 PM
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QUOTE(SITCHUAISHAAAN @ Jun 1 2015, 09:23 AM) *
^ yeah, basically the main question is not about the amount of money which needs to be spent on it, but how the money is spent. Do you know the structure of international aid spending as of last year? As of: to which countries it is given away, and on what purposes. So the first step is the proper audit of all those £19 billion a year. And even if it's not spent on China or given away to some small dictator, there are still so many various options not to spend it on actual living people but to give it to some structures, which are, for instance, close to this or that business enterprise, politician etc etc. It often turns out that a huge chunk, if not all of this spending "for a good cause", ends up in pockets of some lobbyists. That's what happened to all of the Ebola hysteria, yet no one cares about malaria (thank you Suedehead) where you can more or less win a disease in a very cheap way. Why does no one care? Because you can't spend a lot of money on that endlessly.

To sum up, the general problem with all of the international aid is in that:
1. You can't really control the spending most of the time (i.e. it's more likely to be very corrupt than the spending within the country)
2. It might provoke the laziness of the "helped" countries. Not an entirely correct example, but you'll get the idea: Greece. Now they DEMAND the money from EU to make up the debts and waste the money again. Germany sighs and works harder.
3. It's really hard to determine what is actually needed. When you need to recover for some mass disease or catastrophe, it's obvious, but what else?

It's not that I'm against the international aid spending, I just think it should be spent extremely carefully. And the main aim of international aid in my opinion is not just giving money, but motivating the poor countries to earn money by themselves. And, of course, the recovering from some kind of huge disasters should be financed by the whole world. And, of course, not just Great Britain, but the whole world should discuss the main aims on what the aid should be spent. I really like the idea of basic education for everyone, for example.


This.

That 0.7% ad spending right now is nothing but a shallow attempt to make us feel good whilst accomplishing nothing.
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Candlelit Snow
post Jun 3 2015, 01:08 PM
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QUOTE(SITCHUAISHAAAN @ Jun 1 2015, 09:23 AM) *
^ yeah, basically the main question is not about the amount of money which needs to be spent on it, but how the money is spent. Do you know the structure of international aid spending as of last year? As of: to which countries it is given away, and on what purposes. So the first step is the proper audit of all those £19 billion a year. And even if it's not spent on China or given away to some small dictator, there are still so many various options not to spend it on actual living people but to give it to some structures, which are, for instance, close to this or that business enterprise, politician etc etc. It often turns out that a huge chunk, if not all of this spending "for a good cause", ends up in pockets of some lobbyists. That's what happened to all of the Ebola hysteria, yet no one cares about malaria (thank you Suedehead) where you can more or less win a disease in a very cheap way. Why does no one care? Because you can't spend a lot of money on that endlessly.

To sum up, the general problem with all of the international aid is in that:
1. You can't really control the spending most of the time (i.e. it's more likely to be very corrupt than the spending within the country)
2. It might provoke the laziness of the "helped" countries. Not an entirely correct example, but you'll get the idea: Greece. Now they DEMAND the money from EU to make up the debts and waste the money again. Germany sighs and works harder.
3. It's really hard to determine what is actually needed. When you need to recover for some mass disease or catastrophe, it's obvious, but what else?

It's not that I'm against the international aid spending, I just think it should be spent extremely carefully. And the main aim of international aid in my opinion is not just giving money, but motivating the poor countries to earn money by themselves. And, of course, the recovering from some kind of huge disasters should be financed by the whole world. And, of course, not just Great Britain, but the whole world should discuss the main aims on what the aid should be spent. I really like the idea of basic education for everyone, for example.


This.

That 0.7% ad spending right now is nothing but a shallow attempt to make us feel good whilst accomplishing nothing.
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