Published time: 20 Apr, 2017 10:39
Foreign aid may be cut in order to redirect billions of pounds into the Armed Forces as Prime Minister Theresa May reportedly considers ditching her predecessor David Cameron’s commitment to overseas spending.
Cameron’s boost to foreign aid was a key election manifesto pledge which May now seems set to abandon, according to the latest election rumours.
May would not be drawn on whether she would maintain the Cameron-era policy of putting 0.7 percent of the national annual economy towards foreign aid when questioned in the House of Commons on Wednesday.
Asked by Tory backbencher Richard Benyon if she would carry forward current commitments to both aid and NATO, May only replied to confirm she would maintain spending on NATO.
“We have committed to meet our NATO pledge of two percent of GDP being spent on defence every year of this decade,” she said.
“We are delivering on that. We have got a £36 billion defense budget that will rise to almost £40 billion by 2020-21 – the biggest in Europe and second largest in NATO.”
On the issue of aid she merely promised to meet UN targets.
“I can assure him that we remain committed, as a Conservative Party, to ensuring the defense and security of this country and to working for a stronger world,” she added.
OECD figures from April 12 indicate the UK is one of the biggest foreign aid donors in the world.
Britain gave the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) $18.01 billion (£14.4 billion) to help international development in 2016, accounting for nearly 13 percent of the group’s budget.
The Committee’s total spending last year came to $142.6 billion (£114 billion).
“At times of global instability, it’s more important than ever for us to be outward looking and engaged,” a government spokesman said, responding to the OECD figures.