UKIP MEP Margot Parker has greeted news of the message Priti Patel, minister for International Development, will deliver to the World Bank with cautious optimism. Mrs Parker said:
“I am encouraged to see Priti Patel taking a firm line on the spending of British tax-payer’s money on foreign aid – this is a welcome contrast from the naïve, spendthrift attitude we saw in the Tory party under David Cameron.
“A discussion desperately needs to be had about the size of our foreign aid contributions, but while we are committed by law to spend 0.7% of GNP on aid we need to make sure that money is spent a lot better and a lot smarter – something Mrs Patel seems to understand.
“Emphasising spending on poor nations and not those who are more capable of self-sufficiency seems an obvious step, and it is a damning indictment of how things were handled previously that this was not the automatic way things were done.
“Perhaps this is another ‘new’ Tory policy gleaned from the 2015 UKIP manifesto, which quite clearly condemned at the wastage in the current approach while acknowledging the importance of medical and humanitarian interventions.
"I would also recommend Mrs Patel look at spending some of our money on targeted aid programmes to educate and empower women in the developing world, to help give them the skills for personal freedom and prosperity. I am sure she would agree this is far better than large-scale structural aid, which is far more vulnerable to waste, corruption and uselessness.
“I am also pleased to see an emphasis on mutual benefit – it is quite right that the United Kingdom receive some tangible benefit from its aid spending beyond a “feel good” factor.
Mrs Parker spoke about UKIP’s approach to foreign aid: “We are often accused of being callous and selfish in terms of aid as a party – this is far from true. UKIP has long championed a ‘trade not aid’ approach that would let countries become economically self-sufficient. This is particularly true of Africa where there are enormous possibilities for agricultural exports to make a real difference to many countries.
“These exports are massively inhibited when it comes to the EU, which not only sets out very small quotas on non-EU agricultural imports but also levies a punitive 18% import tariff on them. This to protect farmers within the EU, but serves to both keep food prices artificially high and deny many developing countries achieving their full potential.
“One of the best things that will come out of Brexit will be an opening of the UK market to the whole world in both import and export terms. This will, in the long term, do a lot more to help countries stand on their own feet than endlessly funneling aid money their way.”