Published: Sat, September 16, 2017
Business | By Max Garcia

We need to talk about this overseas aid fund farce

We need to talk about this overseas aid fund farce

Overseas aid is back in the headlines this week as the Government starts to rebuild our hurricane-wracked Overseas Territories in the Caribbean.

"This has been our primary focus and continues to be our priority". Countries are ranked according to need, which is meant to ensure the poorest countries take priority. But an unnamed minister told the BBC the figure would have been significantly higher without strict worldwide rules governing the allocation of the £13billion aid budget.

The OECD has confirmed that Anguilla, Turks and Caicos and the British Virgin Islands do not qualify for this official aid as their national incomes are too high.

Downing Street said the UK's aid effort had not been hampered by the rules from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and was pushing to change them.

"We are looking now.at ways in which we can make sure that our aid budget can be used in that way".

A source close to the matter said it was untrue that more money and troops would have been sent if the Government could use the aid budget.

He said: "I think anybody with an ounce of compassion would like to see spending by our government helping these people get back on their feet and getting these British overseas territories helped in the long term".

On Wednesday the Government pledged an additional £25 million to help the rebuilding effort on top of the £32 million already promised.

Baroness Shas Sheehan, the party's spokesperson for worldwide development, said: "The UK should be doing everything it can to help people affected by Hurricane Irma, both in UK territories and in the rest of the region, and which budget that comes from is frankly irrelevant".

Nine people were killed in the British territories in the hurricane out of a total of at least 50 dead in the region.

International Development Secretary Priti Patel said the 40-year-old rules needed to be brought "up to date" to "take into account the vulnerabilities of small island states".

He indicated the United Kingdom could be prepared to act alone if there was no agreement on changing the global rules.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson travelled to the region earlier this week, and said the extra money was needed "massively".

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