As the worst recession in history looms over the UK, the Government is working on ways to help prevent the upcoming economic crisis. Chancellor Rishi Sunak has suggested foreign aid could face the cut.
The UK has a legal commitment to spend 0.7 percent of its GDP on foreign projects and some of the world’s richest countries, such as China and India, have benefited from taxpayers’ money.
But now, Mr Sunak has hinted the amount, which is up to £15 billion a year, could instead be used to fund Foreign Office and Ministry of Defence projects.
Although the Chancellor has support from Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, the change would require primary legislation to come into effect.
This could take months, according to reports.
Rishi Sunak to axe foreign aid
Boris Johnson backs Rishi Sunak’s plan to axe fund
Multiple sources claim Mr Sunak is hoping to announce the intention to scrap the foreign aid in his November Budget.
The foreign aid budget, which was a flagship policy of David Cameron, is loathed by many Tory MPs.
In June, Mr Johnson scrapped the foreign aid department and merged it with the Department for International Development (DfID).
Mr Johnson said at the time: “The UK possesses the third biggest aid budget and diplomatic network in the world.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab backs decision
“We owe it to our people to make the best use of these assets.
“For too long frankly UK overseas aid has been treated as some giant cashpoint in the sky that arrives without any reference to UK interests or to the values the UK wishes to express or the priorities diplomatic political or commercial of the Government of the UK.
“The British taxpayer has a right to expect that we will achieve the maximum value for every pound that we spend.”
Opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer hit out at Mr Johnson’s decision and said the DfID is one of the “best performing and important departments”.
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He said: “Labour created DfID, and I am proud of that.
“Abolishing DfID abolishes Britain’s place in the world.
“The PM should stop these distractions and get on with tackling the health and economic crisis we currently face.”
Last month, it was revealed a staggering £71million of taxpayers’ money was given to Beijing in just one year, despite China having the second-largest economy in the world and its own space programme.
Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer attacks decision
Some of this aid money was reportedly used to put Chinese firms in competition with their British counterparts.
The staggering figure was buried in the Department for International Development’s annual report in July.
The report found the £71.6million payment to China was sent via a combination of direct British aid and a share of funding the UK gives to the likes of the United Nations and EU, who then distribute it.
The foreign aid was introduced by David Cameron
The money is also being spent on training primary school teachers and combating illegal trade in wildlife, despite numerous exotic meat farms still running throughout the Communist nation.
According to reports, the money is also used to support human rights despite Beijing’s crackdown of Uyghur Muslims.
Mr Raab said £3billion would be cut from the aid budget next year, with the axe falling on countries such as China.