As the worst recession in history looms over the UK, the Government is working on ways to help prevent the upcoming economic crisis. Chancellor Rishi Sunak has suggested foreign aid could face the cut.
The UK has a legal commitment to spend 0.7 percent of its GDP on foreign projects and some of the world’s richest countries, such as China and India, have benefited from taxpayers’ money.
But in August, Mr Sunak hinted the amount, which is up to £15 billion a year, could instead be used to fund Foreign Office and Ministry of Defence projects.
And now, Mr Raab has insisted the foreign aid should be “anchored” to the UK national interest.
Speaking to The Times, Mr Raab said: “It’s right to say that when you invest in large sums of money in order to pursue a sustainable partnership, there needs to be something anchored to the UK national interest.
Dominic Raab insists foreign aid in UK interest
Rishi Sunak to scrap foreign aid
“So, we’ll look at all of the areas, whether it’s trade, whether it’s the military assets that were deployed, and see how we can effectively synergise all of those strains with the aid money going in.
“They’re not siloed, they shouldn’t be, whether it’s pursuing our moral interest or our national interest.
“We think that’s the right thing to do.”
Although the Chancellor has support from Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Foreign Secretary, the change would require a vote in the House of Commons.
Boris Johnson backs calls to scrap foreign aid
But Mr Raab said he wouldn’t “rule anything out” when it comes to the “leeway” with legislation.
He continued: “It’s not something that we’re working actively on, but I wouldn’t rule anything out.
“I think there’s a huge amount of leeway within the legislation.
“What we want to do is to maximise the flexibility that we’ve got within that.”
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Back in August, sources claimed Mr Sunak will be announcing the intention to scrap the foreign aid in his November Budget.
The foreign aid budget, which was a flagship policy of David Cameron, is loathed by many Tory MPs.
In June, Mr Johnson scrapped the foreign aid department and merged it with the Department for International Development (DfID).
Mr Johnson said at the time: “The UK possesses the third biggest aid budget and diplomatic network in the world.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak
“We owe it to our people to make the best use of these assets.
“For too long frankly UK overseas aid has been treated as some giant cashpoint in the sky that arrives without any reference to UK interests or to the values the UK wishes to express or the priorities diplomatic political or commercial of the Government of the UK.
“The British taxpayer has a right to expect that we will achieve the maximum value for every pound that we spend.”
In July, it was revealed a staggering £71million of taxpayers’ money was given to Beijing in just one year, despite China having the second-largest economy in the world.
Dominic Raab insists on UK foreign aid
The staggering figure was buried in the Department for International Development’s annual report.
The report found the £71.6million payment to China was sent via a combination of direct British aid and a share of funding the UK gives to the likes of the United Nations and EU, who then distribute it.
Mr Raab said £3billion would be cut from the aid budget next year, with the axe falling on countries such as China.
— to www.express.co.uk