Cardiff South and Penarth Labour MP Stephen Doughty – a former Oxfam charity executive – is attacking a Parliamentary petition which is calling on the UK Government to stop automatically handing-over 0.7% of Britain’s Gross Domestic Product in Foreign Aid every year (equivalent to £12 billion a year ).
The total amount British taxpayers are currently having to underwrite, just for Foreign Aid every year, is £1,200,000,000. By 2020 that figure will have risen to £2,000,000,000. Much of that money is borrowed – adding remorselessly to Britain’s enormous national debt.
A Mail on Sunday investigation found that far from going to help the starving, sick and homeless, much of British taxpayer’s foreign aid money is actually being funnelled into the pockets of “militants” and “killers” or is just being wasted.
The Mail on Sunday said that £72,000,000 of British money had been given to Palestine – which had just spent £8,000,000 on building a super new palace. The Mail found that “Palestinian terrorists, including men who have masterminded suicide bombings and murdered children, are given cash handouts from aid money” and £5,900,000 was given to an American “think tank” which boasts a £12,000,000 HQ .
Many MPs now argue that Britain now donates a higher propoprtion of its national wealth – (0.7%) – in Foreign Aid than any other country in the world – and say some of the money would be better spent at here at home on things like flood defences, the NHS or assistance for the disadvantaged.
However this week Cardiff South and Penarth Labour MP Stephen Doughty has vociferously opposed any notion of reducing the annual burden of Britain’s Foreign Aid budget. In an article in the Huffington Post he concedes that “Aid is risky. Let’s be honest. But it is absolutely in our national interest, the global interest – and it is our moral duty.”
Doughty writes “Any investigation or newspaper can find examples of where money is wasted, or where mistakes are being made – whether it’s in our local council, the NHS or in the overseas aid budget”, but goes on to accuse the Mail on Sunday of making what he calls “lazy allegations”.
Doughty says that because of “declining economic growth” in Britain, the fixed percentage of 0.7% of GDP will actually result in a £650,000,000 cut in the aid budget over the next few years. He denies that there are insufficient safeguards and checks on where Britain’s Foreign Aid money is actually going.
The Mail has called for independent whistleblowers on foreign aid projects. Doughty claims they already exist and that “projects are reviewed and audited independently”. As far as British cash getting into the hands of “despots” is concerned, Doughty says “There will always be an element of risk”.
He says “What would be madness is slashing the very budget focused on tackling the gross poverty, instability and insecurity that threatens our national and global security, drives people to flee their countries to drown in the Mediterranean, but most importantly – degrades us all as human beings.”
As of 15.53 this afternoon the Parliamentary Petition has almost 139,224 signatories – and climbing. It can be completed on-line by going to https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/125692