While millions in the UK are struggling with the rising cost of living, while over 500,000 are dependent on foodbanks, and the homeless population continues to rise, we are borrowing money to send to countries with space programmes, aid programmes of their own, and even surplus cash in their own banks. Despite that today Parliament’s International Development Committee has published a report ruling out cuts to foreign aid.
UKIP MEP Nathan Gill who sits on the European Parliament's International Development Committee said, "Why do the political classes still insist that we can afford to send nearly £1billion per month in aid to countries with space programmes and burgeoning middle classes whilst hard-working UK taxpayers struggle with the rising cost of living, face the likely prospect of never seeing a state pension and are burdened with the largest national debt in history?
"UKIP believes it is time to reduce the international aid budget to a level which is affordable today and sustainable for the future. This is a nonsense that has to stop. The £1 billion we send overseas every month is approximately what we generate from inheritance tax, petrol revenue tax, insurance premium tax and air passenger duty combined.
"We know at least £900million of taxpayer’s money is unaccounted for due to ‘cultural differences in accounting standards.’ whatever they are. We also know DIFD has to shovel money out of the door to meet arbitrary financial targets, instead of putting serious thought or consideration into what projects might actually work. The result is appalling and often tragic misuse of aid – the example of a £6 million donation to Iran to tackle the drugs trade which led to the execution of 3,000 men, women and even children being one of the most horrendous.
"Aid as currently designed adds to the debts we are leaving our children, it often disappears into the pockets of corrupt dictators and officials, it can be diverted into terrorist enterprises. The bottom line is that it has become a fat cat industry.”
Gill continued “UKIP believes in prioritising emergency aid, health and inoculation programmes, and initiatives that provide sanitation and clean water, and providing humanitarian aid when it is needed and where there are clear outcomes.
"We also believe in helping developing countries stand on their own two feet through trade, not aid. At the moment the European Union’s approach is actively undermining the ability of poorer countries to grow economically: the sale of fishing rights by African nations for instance is decimating local fishing industries and EU trade tariffs restrict trade from non-EU nations struggling to compete in a global market. Aid does not guarantee an end to poverty, nor an increase in democratic or political freedom, but free access to British, European and US markets could make a world of difference.
"Cutting the aid budget by £9bn a year, and prioritising the delivery of emergency aid, inoculation programmes and water sanitation is not only common sense, it would actually benefit the people in nations that receive foreign aid.
"The only way to restore dignity and provide a real living to the world’s poorest people, is by free access to British, European and the US markets. Free and Fair Trade, not aid."