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British Govt Gives More Away in Foreign Aid than It Spends on Police

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CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images
JACK MONTGOMERY

The British government is giving away more money through the foreign aid budget than it is spending on police forces, despite the violent crime wave gripping the country.

Crime in the capital city of London, under the mayoralty of Labour’s Sadiq Khan, appears to be particularly out of hand, with homicides at a 10-year high and particularly striking issues with knife crime and moped-enabled crime, as well as once rare and shocking incidents such as acid and machete attacks.

The austerity policies introduced by the Tories under David Cameron when they took the reins of government from New Labour, first in coalition with the left-wing Liberal Democrats and then as a single-party administration, have hit police forces (as well as the courts, prisons, and immigration agencies) hard, with manpower plumbing its lowest level since 1985 in recent years.

These cuts were always sold to the public as sacrifices necessary to mitigate the fiscal deficit bequeathed to the Tories by 13 years of Labour mismanagement.

However, a report in The Sun shows that large sums of money have been found for other priorities — arguably regarded as less pressing by the general public — such as the foreign aid budget. This now soaks up significantly more than the £13 billion allocated to the country’s hard-pressed police forces, at a whopping £14.7 billion.

This is thanks in large part to the legally-binding target to spend a sum equivalent of 0.7 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on aid, introduced by Cameron and retained by his successor, Theresa May — despite its clear lack of support among the public in general and Tory voters in particular.

Theresa May did not even take immediate steps to introduce changes to the OECD-defined criteria for aid imposed along with the 0.7 percent rules, leaving Britain in the ridiculous position of not being allowed to allocate money from the aid budget to assist the disaster-stricken British Virgin Islands after they were devastated by Hurricane Irma.

While the Department for International Development (DfID), which is responsible for the aid budget, suggests that its resources are being increasingly brought to bear on seemingly worthy causes, such as tackling child sex tourism, misappropriation of British funds by corrupt officials and politicians, organised criminals, and even radical Islamic terrorists has been a perennial problem.

Many critics take issue with the countries British aid is allocated to, with recipients including the likes of China and India — both of which do have issues with serious poverty, but enough money of their own to spare on space programmes, nuclear weapons systems, and even their own foreign aid budgets.

“It can’t be right that we can afford to help third world countries while we seem to be unable to offer more than third world care to our elderly citizens,” remarked the former Tory pensions minister, Baroness Altmann, of the situation — appearing to echo the popular sentiment among ordinary Britons.

Follow Jack Montgomery on Twitter: @JackBMontgomery
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