Two UKIP members discuss the aid budget and reach the same conclusion for different reasons.
By now you will have heard a large thump as the COUNCIL TAX BILL landed through your letterbox. No doubt the justification for the 12.8% overall increase made fascinating reading. For the past few years, in an attempt to make things look better, the Police & Fire Service have been hived off for separate charges. The same trick has now been used for the new charge for ‘Adult Social Care’. This charge of £47:22 for the year is, we are told, to pay for care of the elderly in nursing homes, home care & no doubt other areas.
Now none of us really like paying tax but in a civilised society if we wish to have a NHS, Police Service, Fire Service and provide care for those in later life; then we must pay for it.
However I find it it disgusting that we are having to pay for this deceptive charge. And why do I say this? When you consider as Taxpayers we are expected to pay this charge & yet we give 13 BILLION POUNDS in foreign aid to other countries, and some of that aid is being spent "improving care in the community for elderly people in China”. I’m just left staggered by this outrageous new charge that we are expected to pay.
So, when the Tories, Labour or the Lib Dems come around grovelling for your vote just ask them this. Do they support this extra charge & how do they justify sending aid to China to do the very same thing that we must now pay extra for our own people? The trouble with the British people is we just sit there, complain about it & then do absolutely nothing about it & pay up. So at this election forget party loyalties and vote for candidates who oppose giving money to countries who don’t need it so that we can look after our own.
And I end with this. I bet this time next year we will get some other lame excuse & this charge will morph into something else & it
will become yet another new tax.
When considering the aid budget I start from the other end and think about whether the money does any good. When I was in Africa I found that aid projects differ enormously in how they work and what they achieve. Some of the worst projects actually damage the communities they are supposed to help.
What I would call a useful project starts by talking to local people and finding out what they need. Perhaps a village needs a better water supply but cant afford to hire a drilling rig. These projects target aid at the people who need it most.
The more wasteful projects start by ignoring the local people, a good way to do this is to consult the national government. The government might ask for a new power station for example. However there may be no local expertise in this field and an outside contractor with expatriate staff will have to be hired to deliver a power station. When the power station is finished it will provide better air conditioning for the urban rich, but the rural poor cant afford an electricity supply and will see little benefit at all.
My problem with the requirement to spend 0.7% of GDP (13 Billion this year) is that it encourages the spending of money on wasteful projects. If the Department for International Development (DFID) has to, by law, spend 13 Billion pounds every year, then it makes sense for them to find some very big projects and throw money at them. Suppose they find that the project does not help the local people, that it is damaging the environment, that some of the money is being skimmed off by the local mafia and corrupt officials or even that the project is working against British interests. In these cases surely funding of the project should be stopped while the problems are resolved. No, by law the money must be spent and therefore the money will be spent.
In the past year DFID have funded education in North Korea; a country which is extremley hostile to us and our allies. They funded care for the old in China; a country able to afford a manned space programme. They gave money to Pakistan; a country which finds a large budget for its nuclear weapons. They also gave money to India a country which is able to operate Harrier jets from its aircraft carrier. Let me just expand on that one, we scrapped our Harrier jets because we 'could not afford' them; at the same time the Indians were upgrading their squadron of Harriers and yet we still give them aid.
Compared with much of the rest of the world, we live in a very fortunate country. Of course it is right that we should help the less prosperous but we owe it to ourselves, and the people we are trying to help, to do this in a less foolish manner. Getting rid of the 0.7% of GDP target would be a good place to start.
UKIP is the only party standing in these elections which will end the 0.7% of GDP commitment and reduce the aid budget.