Foreign aid charade

Facing a December deadline to hit the aid target set by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), the DfID (Department for International Development) realised it faced a £1 billion underspend and embarked on a prodigious spending spree during the last weeks of 2014.

As the National Audit Office pointed out: “The requirement to hit, but not significantly exceed, aid spending equivalent to 0.7 per cent of gross national income every calendar year means the department has to hit a fairly narrow target against a background of considerable uncertainty.” Nevertheless, it suggests a ‘use it or lose it’ mentality that does not inspire public confidence. Under such circumstances, can we really be sure that the money is spent on the most deserving causes and in the best interests of the taxpayer?

At this moment, a private member’s bill is winding its way through Parliament enshrining in law this commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of our annual income on international aid. In the light of what happened at the end of last year, the wisdom of making it legally binding must be questioned.

Spending 0.7 per cent of gross national product on aid is an incredibly generous commitment, especially when you consider that the money is effectively either borrowed from the markets at interest or confiscated from taxpayers without their consent. Or both.

About thespeedofdark

David Winship has written an unauthorised autobiography and several critically disdained literary tomes. His work is frequently compared with Steinbeck, Orwell and Hemingway, but unfortunately Mike Steinbeck, Daisy Orwell and Howard Hemingway were all terrible writers. He has been totally overlooked for the most prestigious literary awards worldwide, which is a shame as most of the words are spelled correctly. In fact, his books contain material that ranks with the finest literary works in history: all the right letters are there, just not necessarily in the right order.

Dave’s blog (The Speed Of Dark Blog) is part of his crusade for truth and justice and universal entitlement to free real ale. It may well be that his whole purpose in life is to serve as a warning to others.

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