Britain’s spending on overseas aid has rocketed by £2.3bn one year, and the UK is now the second largest contributor to foreign aid in the world after the United States. Figures show that David Cameron’s pledge to spend 0.7 percent of GDP on overseas aid has led to costs increasing from £8.3bn to £10.6bn in just one year.
Both right-wing Conservatives and UKIP have complained that the figures are too high. Only a few small countries spend a larger percentage of their GDP. The United States spends just 0.19 percent, but because it is the world’s largest economy this still equates to the biggest cash sum.
Germany spends 0.38 percent, whilst Australia, Canada, France, the Netherlands and Portugal all cut their spending on aid last year. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said that £1 in every £8 spent on aid by governments around the world now comes from Britain.
The money includes payments made to China to combat climate change and help economic growth. In 2012 the British government handed over £27m to the country, despite its growing economic and financial might.
Peter Bone MP has previously criticised these payments to a country that has a space programme. Last year he told the Daily Mail, “The public will be rightly horrified that we are still wasting money on aid to China. It’s extraordinary that we are doing this while they send a mission to the moon.”
Former Defence Secretary, Liam Fox, was also concerned about the way overseas aid is spent. The Daily Express reported that he told a meeting of Conservative activists that aid should only go to countries that share Britain’s values.
Dr Fox said, “We should use our leverage to ensure that those ethics of generous British citizens who provide the money through their donations and through their taxes, are reflected in those countries whom we assist.
“We should make clear that religious tolerance and equal rights are an essential part of our culture which we insist in being replicated in the recipient nations and if they are not, then our aid policy should be re-evaluated.
“We should be proud of our values, we do far too much apologising for our history. It is time for us to tell the liberal apologetic revisionist historians to get lost.
“We are who and what we are, not just because of economic strength but because of what we believe.
“Our commitment to political freedom and expression, the economic freedom within a free market framework and our religiously tolerant society have shaped not only this country but many around the globe.”
The overseas aid budget is now equal to a quarter of the defence budget, it could also pay for the replacement of the UK’s Trident Nuclear Weapons system in just two years. Campaigners have called for Trident to be cancelled as they claim the country cannot afford the £15bn – £20bn cost.