Prime Minister David Cameron has been told to divert money from the escalating foreign aid budget and instead help British flood victims. This follows the release of new estimates revealing the cost of this month’s disaster in Cumbria, Yorkshire and Lancashire could be up to £5.8billion.
That is the exact amount Britain recently committed to spend helping poorer countries tackle climate change over the next five years, according to the Daily Mail.
Former environment secretary Owen Paterson is no doubt that charity begins at home. He called for the needs of British flood victims to be put ahead of those living overseas.
“Where there is money set aside to help flood victims around the world it should now be diverted to help people suffering in the UK,” he said.
Mr Paterson, who served as Environment Secretary until last year, believes the Cameron government’s focus on foreign aid showed the wrong sense of priorities. He said:
“It must be a priority to spend British taxpayers’ money on British citizens who are suffering..
“I know some people say it is not a binary choice – that we can spend money on both. But it is a binary choice – you can either spend £1 building flood defences to help people abroad or you spend it to protect citizens in this country.”
This is not the first time that Mr Cameron has been held to account over Britain’s massive foreign aid spend.
As Breitbart London reported, earlier this month UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage called on the British government to divert money from the country’s international aid budget to help communities in the UK affected by flooding in the wake of Storm Desmond.
Now he was re-issued that call via Twitter.
What about diverting some of the huge foreign aid budget to help those in need here in the UK, Prime Minister? https://t.co/pxKt4IFrks
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) December 28, 2015
Labour MP Simon Danczuk, whose Rochdale constituency has been badly affected by flooding, also questioned the Government’s refusal to touch the aid budget.
“Why do we spend money in Bangladesh when it needs spending in Great Britain?” he told the Mail.
“What we need to do is to sort out the problems which are occurring here and not focus so much on developing countries.
“That has to be our priority. We need to put that right as soon as possible.”
The government’s foreign aid budget is fixed at 0.7 percent of GDP. In his recent budget statement, Chancellor George Osborne announced that the sum is expected to rise from £11.1 bn this year to hit £16.3bn by 2020.
Not everyone is convinced that slicing the overseas aid budget in order to spend money on flood defences would be of benefit to UK taxpayers. The shadow chancellor John McDonnell warned that much of the spending sent to developing countries was targeted at helping them “green their economies” and that it was already playing a role in preventing future flooding.
“If you look at a lot of the money that we’re spending overseas it is to tackle climate change,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
“We’re tackling the issue at source – we’re reducing dependency on fossil fuels. If we do that it would be a short-term saving but a long-term cost.”
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