Why do 60% of UK public think overseas Aid wasted?

Valerie Amos, Baroness Amos at the 2007 World ...

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The British government pledged to ring fence its Overseas Aid of  0.7% of national income. To  date the British public continue to ask why is that? In fact in a recent BBC Radio 4 interview , Andrew Mitchell The Secretary of state for International Development DFID had to answer the question


Why do 60% of  UK public think overseas Aid is wasted? And if that is the case should we continue to send our hard earned cash overseas?

and his answer

If we do not send the money to help alleviate problems like poverty, extreme hunger, these problems will turn up on our door step

Does he have a point?


On the face of it he does. So the question is has our sending overseas Aid stopped these problems turning up on our door stop?

The answer is NO.


British people are generous and are quick to respond to calls of help when there is an emergency elsewhere and have responded generously to the crisis in the horn of Africa and that being the case why would 60% of them think that overseas Aid is wasted? This article in The Mail Online has some answers

I have previously asked the question Why do parts of  Africa remain desperately despite the Aid that we send? and in another post I asked why India, a country that reportedly has its own Overseas Aid program has more poor people than some parts of Africa?

This all sounds to me like either

  1. Mr Mitchell has not not been effective at getting his message out there
  2. or that he needs to show us the UK public where our money goes in real terms and unfortunately for some that will mean that some of those “problems” he mentioned during his radio interview do not continue to show up on our door step


What do you think?

I am going to keep this post short to encourage discussion and will return to the topic in the next post – but in the mean time do join the conversation and don’t forget to invite your friends


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For every £1 that goes in £10 leaves

An interesting statistic indeed but what does it mean?

On Monday 18th Oct 2010 Channel 4′s Dispatches programme loked at how the Rich in the UK beat the Tax system. There were two surprises for me as I watched this programme

  1. Andrew Mitchell Secretary for state International Development whose budget has been ring fenced was one of the super rich implicated by the programme

    Andrew Mitchell -photo from Wikipedia

  2. The tax evasion has implications for overseas development.I have previously written about Vulture funds that see companies buying up third world debt and us the tax payers picking the tab so this was fascinating stuff indeed

Point number 2 was especially interesting the expert interviewed was John Christensen of the Tax Justice Network and this is what he had to say

for every £1 that goes  out of the rich countries into the developing world as Aid at least £10 of capital flows out of those countries illicitly into tax heavens through offshore structures and this explains in part why developing countries have not been able to finance their own development and remain reliant on aid and external borrowing

WOW! that statement left me lost for words and that is very unusual I must say.

But surely the secretary of state knows this?  Well I hope so anyway! It  was interesting note that he ended his speech at  the London School of Economics with that all so familiar ConDem slogan


Well are we?  Based on the information provided in this programme it doesn’t sound like it. One would also be forgiven for reaching the conclusion that only the rich truly benefit from Aid.

The question where do we go from here? If those that should know better are themselves seemingly avoiding the taxman what about the poor?

Further reading on the issue of ring fencing the Aid budget is at http://www.birdsontheblog.co.uk/has-britain-exported-its-welfare-benefits-system-to-africa/

Have you got a view? Did you perhaps watch the programme? What did you make of it

It is World Poverty Day!

I am not quite sure what means exactly but a quick search on the internet led me to this link. it would appear that the leaders of the main parties in the UK general elections are out and about spelling out exactly what their plans for developing countries will be once in power.

Some thing that caught my attention is David Cameron’s visit to a Islamic charity in Birmingham. Alongside him was Andrew Mitchell the Shadow Secretary for International Development, who was interviewed about the conservative policy on international policy.

I do agree with him that more has to be done to ensure that AID  gets through to those that need it the most. I also agree that we the tax payers should be told more about where our money goes and be shown the outcomes of this form intervention.

I however  question the wisdom behind what he called an “ex-factor” type  of voting that will see us the public deciding who in the developing world deserves our help!

If the current checks and balances of ensuring that money get to those that need are not working, is the answer hidden in changing how or to whom the AID is allocated?  Or is this a way of getting votes from the voting public? How would this actually work in public?

Is it time perhaps that the whole idea of AID was overhauled?

This year also sees the 10th anniversary of the Millennium development Goals but as discussed it would appear that it is unlikely that these will be met either.

Should this perhaps be the focus for Andrew Mitchell and his chums?

Do you know what World Poverty day means? I would love  to hear from you