MENU
UK Economics

At last: Stunning victory for Mail on Sunday campaign as £12billion foreign aid budget will be slashed to fund the war on terror

  • International Development Secretary Priti Patel to outline spending cuts
  • Money to be used to promote ‘national security and the national interest’
  • Comes after The Mail on Sunday and readers protested against wasteful and corrupt aid projects 
International Development Secretary Priti Patel is to cut spending on traditional aid projects and use the money to help promote 'national security and the national interest'
International Development Secretary Priti Patel is to cut spending on traditional aid projects and use the money to help promote ‘national security and the national interest’

The Mail on Sunday’s campaign to tackle the UK’s bloated foreign aid budget scored a massive victory last night – when the Government decided that tens of millions of pounds can be diverted to fund the war on terror.

In a radical break with the David Cameron era, new International Development Secretary Priti Patel is to cut spending on traditional aid projects and use the money to help promote ‘national security and the national interest’.

It could lead to Defence Secretary Michael Fallon handing to Ms Patel his responsibility for funding British troops combating Islamic insurgencies in global hotspots – freeing up more of his resources for frontline troops.

The move is a major U-turn and comes after The Mail on Sunday and its readers protested against wasteful and corrupt aid projects.

During our campaign, supported by more than 235,000 readers who signed a petition to force a Commons debate, we exposed handouts to Palestinian terrorists, how North Korean officials were flown to Britain for English lessons and how music teachers were sent around the world to teach children to sing.

And we demanded an end to the UK’s commitment to spending 0.7 per cent of national income on overseas aid each year, which would see the aid budget spiral to £16 billion by 2020.

Last night, confirming the dramatic shift, a source close to Ms Patel told The Mail on Sunday: ‘We have been very clear that Britain will keep its promises to help the world’s poorest while delivering in the interests of British taxpayers.

‘Following the vote to leave the European Union, British aid and the expertise it provides will work to complement our trade relations and our security.’

Senior Conservative MP Graham Brady, the chairman of the party’s backbench 1922 Committee, welcomed the change of emphasis.

Shocking: The Mail On Sunday's revelation that Palestinian terrorists get cash handouts from taxpayer

Shocking: The Mail On Sunday’s revelation that Palestinian terrorists get cash handouts from taxpayer


Profligate: We report how UK overspent its already huge aid budget by nearly £200million

He said: ‘It is right that foreign aid spending should concentrate on both the most pressing need abroad and on those areas which can bring most benefit to Britain’s national interest’.

Ms Patel, who is expected to outline her plans in a keynote speech in the autumn, was a provocative appointment by Prime Minister Theresa May: during the last Parliament, Ms Patel proposed scrapping the international development department completely and replacing it with a trade-focused body to help businesses invest in the developing world.

Although Ms Patel is reluctant to start a war with the foreign aid lobby by ditching the 0.7 per cent figure, she is determined to spend the money in a way which more directly benefits the UK.

An MP familiar with Ms Patel’s thinking said: ‘She knows people never swallowed Cameron’s line that these billions going abroad were in any way helping UK PLC.

Outrage: MoS leads the biggest e-petition in newspaper history to force a debate in parliament

Black hole: Our story on African nations who receive billions to ease poverty, but spend it on space rockets

‘From now on, the watchwords are national security and the national interest. If those bells don’t ring, the projects will be scrapped’.

Ms Patel is also keen to cut down on waste and inefficiencies and wants to make greater use of ‘payment by results’, under which aid grants would be withheld unless the money ‘demonstrably changes lives’ – and in a way which clearly advantages the UK.

Foreign Office sources say the example of the Dutch government is being studied. It has channelled its foreign aid money into non- combat, defence-related projects such as peacekeeping and funding ships to monitor migration flows.

The FCO sources point to the 70 British troops sent to Somalia in May as part of a UN mission to counter Islamist militancy, which they suggest in future could be funded and controlled by Ms Patel out of the DFID budget.

A further 300 troops were deployed to South Sudan the following month for similar work. The region is home to the Al Shabaab group, an Islamist militant group allied to Al Qaeda.

Exposed: UN boss uses MoS to blow whistle on organisation's waste and obsession with celebrity

Shameless: We tell how executives at private firms delivering aid earn six-figure salaries

The move could lead to Defence Secretary Michael Fallon handing to Ms Patel his responsibility for funding British troops combating Islamic insurgencies in global hotspots – freeing up more of his resources for frontline troops (file picture)

At the time of the deployment, Mr Fallon said it showed the UK’s ‘determination to tackle terrorism wherever it rears its head’.

Under strict overseas development rules, aid money cannot be channelled to troops engaged in combat. Ms Patel would have to negotiate the new arrangements with the Foreign Office to ensure they were compatible with international obligations.

It is understood that when she announces her plans, she will be at pains to stress that DFID ‘will not be an extension to the defence budget but act in conjunction with it’.

Earlier this month it was claimed that British aid had funded a training base built by the Hamas terrorist group near the Gaza strip.

Israel said money from British taxpayers had been funnelled to Hamas to build the base by a senior Palestinian official with World Vision, a major Christian charity that has been handed millions of pounds by DFID.

Ms Patel says the Government will not consider any future funding for World Vision until it can prove the claims to be false.

May: Pro-Brexit MP Priti Patel labelled EU disfunctional

YOU ROARED AND SHE ACTED… IN THE NATIONAL INTEREST

By Ian Birrell 

She does not deserve three cheers yet, probably not even two. But let us give one cheer at least… for at long last the Minister charged with spraying taxpayers’ cash around the world seems to appreciate the fears of those funding the spending spree.

The concerns were highlighted by the devastating Mail on Sunday campaign that exposed the scale of waste and wanton abuse involved in Britain’s £12 billion aid giveaway.

Our reports revealed scandal after scandal: from the deadly serious – millions channelled to terrorist suicide bombers and to teachers in Pakistan who did not exist – to the frankly ludicrous – how British aid benefited makers of designer handbags and Africa’s space race.

The outcry led to a petition signed by 235,522 people and a parliamentary debate. MPs responded by simply brushing aside the anger of constituents with a series of self-aggrandising speeches.

Ms Patel (pictured) seems determined to shake up her sanctimonious department, though her room for manoeuvre will be limited 
Ms Patel (pictured) seems determined to shake up her sanctimonious department, though her room for manoeuvre will be limited

Sadly, signals from No 10 suggest our new Prime Minister intends to stick with one of her predecessor’s most disastrous policies: to meet an arbitrary UN target of giving away 0.7 per cent of national income.

This outmoded commitment undermines Theresa May’s lofty talk of social justice and evidence-based policy, with the sums doled out predicted to rise to £16 billion by the next election.

And it boosts a booming global poverty industry now worth £100 billion a year. All too often this tide of money fuels corruption, fosters conflict and corrodes democracy, while aiding fat-cat charity chiefs and firms enjoying vast profits.

So it is interesting to observe Priti Patel taking over the department for international development, which has behaved for so long with such high-handed disregard for dismayed taxpayers and brave whistleblowers.

She is, after all, an uncompromising Right-winger known to harbour grave doubts about the wisdom of blowing so much money on aid.

Ms Patel seems determined to shake up her sanctimonious department, though her room for manoeuvre will be limited.

There is no doubt it makes sense to spend less on vainglorious aid projects and more on our own defence, given Middle East instability, jihadist atrocities and Russian provocations.

We must hope Ms Patel does not become seduced by flawed concepts of saving the world.

She should not flinch from forcing her Whitehall officials to finally start serving the interests of British taxpayers and the world’s poorest people by curbing some of the worst excesses caused by the great aid giveaway.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3761848/At-Stunning-victory-Mail-Sunday-campaign-12billion-foreign-aid-budget-slashed-fund-war-terror.html

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!

Help put the World to rights and leave a Comment

  Subscribe  
Notify of
MENU
Powered by: Wordpress
%d bloggers like this: